Page 3656 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 23 November 2022

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Best Start is a cornerstone of our child and family reform agenda, and its intent and actions flow through to many other initiatives of this government, such as guiding this government’s commitment to establishing a child and family network. The strategy also strongly aligns with the objectives set out in the ACT Wellbeing Framework, and it will support the achievements of key actions in the Healthy Canberra: ACT Preventive Health Plan 2020-25. Best Start also complements the Set up for Success early childhood strategy, Next Steps for Our Kids, and the Maternity in Focus plan.

The ACT government wants to make sure that every child in Canberra has the chance to reach their potential. Best Start sets out our pathway of collective action to achieve our vision for Canberra’s children to get the best start in life so that they have the best possible health and wellbeing now, as well as into their future.

As Minister for Early Childhood Development and as a member of the ACT community, I am proud to be here today, tabling the Best Start strategy and the first action plan, and announcing the new early intervention service. The strategy and investment will make a real difference to the lives of Canberra children, their families and the whole community. I present the following papers:

The Best Start for Canberra’s Children: the First 1000 Days Strategy—

Interim action plan.


Joint ministerial statement—Minister for Early Childhood Development, Minister for Health and Minister for Families and Community Services, 23 November 2022.

I move:

That the Assembly take note of the ministerial statement.

MS STEPHEN-SMITH (Kurrajong—Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Families and Community Services and Minister for Health) (10.08): I rise today to co-present Best Start to the Assembly, with my colleague the Deputy Chief Minister, and I thank Minister Berry for her statement.

This strategy commits to better supporting children and families in the ACT to be happy, healthy and thriving. All children deserve the best start in life. By focusing on supporting children and families during the first 1,000 days of a child’s development, we can help all children to enjoy good health and wellbeing from the start. The Best Start strategy and its action plan will guide our efforts over the next decade to provide early and enhanced supports to children and their families, and the community.

As we have heard from Minister Berry, Best Start has been developed by incorporating the evidence with feedback we have heard from Canberra communities; that is, all children and families need support during this crucial time of a child’s life. The evidence shows that a child’s brain develops the most during the first 1,000 days of life. This crucial period of brain development can be impacted by many factors—

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