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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 6 June 2018) . . Page.. 2132 ..

conversation would involve genuine dialogue, and I am pleased to say that this has been realised. While the strategy is being settled and will be announced later this year, the conversation provided the government with some clear directions; so the budget also commits funding to early outcomes of the conversation through measures aimed at empowering learning professionals in ACT schools.

After students themselves, the single most significant factor in the outcomes achieved in schools is the expertise and professionalism of the teachers facilitating the learning. The evidence is clear on this point and has been repeated by ACT students, teachers, school leaders, parents and carers and the wider community throughout my conversations with them.

The budget commits $9.2 million to some key initiatives, including the strengthening of teacher capability in teaching literacy and numeracy and improved collaboration between schools and the University of Canberra on initial teacher education and research-informed professional learning. This funding will also enable further work on the strategy and its outcomes.

In my remarks I have highlighted only some of the education initiatives in this budget, and they have been well canvassed by other members in this place. Yesterday I provided a detailed response to a question on the future skills academy and I draw members’ attention to the excellent opportunity that this will provide ACT students and the wider community. The government is also continuing its work on the early childhood strategy, an area that I am particularly passionate about, given my previous work across this sector. I will have more to say about this later this year. Thank you again, Mr Steel, for bringing this motion to the Assembly. I commend the motion to the chamber.

MS ORR (Yerrabi) (5.24): I want to thank Mr Steel for moving this motion today. The 2018-19 ACT budget has a strong focus on investing in education. I have previously moved and spoken on a number of motions in the Assembly relating to the ACT government’s commitment to delivering quality education, and I am proud to stand here today as a member of this Labor government that has handed down a budget for 2018-19 that continues to value and invest in quality education for all Canberrans.

Gungahlin is Australia’s second fastest growing region, and it is critical that we increase and improve access to public education for the local community. Our population has been growing exponentially in recent years, and will continue to do so as our town centre and surrounding suburbs evolve. With these key factors in mind, it is imperative that we invest in better education infrastructure. This government recognises the need for further education investment, which is why we are investing in local schools, particularly in my electorate of Yerrabi.

In Franklin, we are expanding the early childhood school to deliver year 3 classes for students in 2019, with a further commitment to begin planning and consultation to grow the school into a full preschool to year 6 school. The government will be working closely with the school community to make sure everything that families

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