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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 20 April 2021) . . Page.. 890 ..

I really believe that we can. We need more effective teaching and a simpler curriculum. We need genuine equity and opportunity, not just rhetoric. We need stronger positive leadership and culture, smarter funding and governance, and evidence-based decision making and practice. Our kids deserve nothing less. So I welcome the fact that we spend a lot of money on education in this jurisdiction. I think that is good—I welcome it—but I want to make sure that every dollar that we spend does what it should, which is to support some of those brightest young minds in the country.

MR DAVIS (Brindabella) (5.09): The ACT Greens are pleased to see significant ongoing investment in our public schools, their teachers and students, through this year’s budget. Over the last 12 months our schools have experienced significant upheaval in responding to COVID-19. I would like to congratulate all of our teachers, students and public servants for their resilience and creativity in responding to the pandemic. There is no doubt that stay at home orders had a significant impact on many students and that the work to bring children back together and move forward in their education system will continue for some time.

The ACT Greens understand that free, high-quality education promotes equality of opportunity, is a cornerstone of a healthy democracy and is fundamental to society. This education starts at a young age and continues right through life. The continued implementation of the early childhood strategy, particularly the rollout of access to early childhood education, is fundamental to ensuring that every child in this city is given a fighting chance.

The ACT Greens are pleased to have agreed, in the parliamentary and governing agreement, to see the rollout of this important program to every child by the end of 2024 and expect this to be an integral part of future budgets. The sooner all children and their families are provided with the same opportunities for education, the better. During the election campaign. the ACT Greens were proud to support the Australian Education Union ACT Branch’s election pledge to support public education in the ACT. The ACT Greens are proud to be a part of a government that deeply values the teachers who educate and support our young people.

This pledge and our policy platform also strongly supported increased resourcing of public school libraries and training teacher librarians. The ACT Greens know that libraries are essential for all school students’ learning and understanding of the world. That is why we promised to make sure every public school has a great school library as part of our pledge to the Australian Education Union, with fully qualified teacher librarians and support staff wherever possible. This budget delivers on that commitment. The ACT government is investing $888,000 to provide 10 scholarships each year for teachers to complete a master’s degree to become a qualified teacher librarian.

I am pleased to see that the commonwealth has increased funding in this budget to the MoneySmart Teaching national partnership, which no doubt will be used to support teachers to implement comprehensive and contemporary financial literacy programs in our public schools, which is again important in ensuring that our education system is a key part of the government’s plan to reduce inequality in Canberra.

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