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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 13 Hansard (14 December) . . Page.. 4174..


MR BARR (continuing):

Southern Cross in Belconnen, adding to the already operating O'Connor cooperative school in the inner north.

Research on the value of early childhood education programs, particularly for poor children, points to short-term benefits, including improved cognitive function, school readiness and social skills, and also positive long-term effects on school completion, further education participation, employment outcomes, earnings and general social wellbeing. According to Nobel Prize winner James Heckman, the establishment of an early childhood focus can help produce better citizens and more productive members of society. Professor Heckman states, in a presentation paper to the University of New South Wales:

There are many reasons why investing in disadvantaged young children has a high economic return.

It is a rare public policy initiative that promotes fairness and social justice and at the same time promotes productivity in the economy and in society at large.

Investing in disadvantaged young children is such a policy.

Further research states that the early period of brain development is critical for the wellbeing of our community, not just in physical and mental health but also in literacy and numeracy. So the early years of schooling are possibly the most important and we are committed to providing the best education possible in those years. Over the coming two years the government will be also working towards co-locating other early childhood services at these locations and my colleague Katy Gallagher and I will be working together to ensure that we have a best-practice model for our younger students.

Economy—management

MS MacDONALD: My question is to Mr Stanhope in his capacity as Treasurer. Is the Treasurer aware of a media release issued yesterday by the shadow Treasurer criticising the government's economic management? What factors did the shadow Treasurer nominate that posed a long-term threat to the territory's financial position?

Mr Mulcahy: No, the Auditor-General.

MR SPEAKER: The minister is not responsible for media releases from opposition members.

Mr Stanhope: On that ruling, Mr Speaker, the question asked: what factors did the shadow Treasurer nominate that posed a long-term threat to the territory's financial position?

Mr Mulcahy: It was about my press releases.

Mr Stanhope: I think it is quite relevant to my role as Treasurer for me to respond to concerns raised by the opposition as to the long-term threats to the territory's financial position.


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