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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 11 Hansard (21 October) . . Page.. 3472 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

It also fulfils one of the recommendations the standing committee made last year in relation to its preschool inquiry. The goals expressed in the draft for preschools and early childhood services for the next three years are to introduce a continuous quality of improvement program through a zero to eight curriculum framework; professional development; to improve communication with staff and parents; to improve opportunities for disadvantaged children and those with special needs; to improve transitions between early childhood settings; and to develop a planning system which provides equitable access.

The plan also proposes that the current criteria for viability of preschools be retained with an expansion of those criteria to include changing demographics, impact of relocation policies and condition of buildings. A range of models are included in the draft plan. The Government is now seeking community input by referring the plan to the Standing Committee for Education.

MR SPEAKER: There is nothing on my sheet to give a closing date for the report to come back to the Assembly.

MR STEFANIAK: Well, that is what I would like to do.

Mr Moore: That is what he moved.

MR STEFANIAK: That is what I moved, yes.

Ms Tucker: The committee has discussed this and we have been quite prepared to look at the draft preschool strategic plan. I do not have a problem with that. I have a big problem with suddenly being told about the date that is being imposed on the committee. I reserve judgment on that. I think the committee needs an opportunity to look at that. I was given no notice at all. I am happy to accept the referral and I think that we have already done that. Can I ask that we amend this motion so that we take the date out?

MR STEFANIAK: Delete the date at this stage. The reason they have that date is that everyone wanted to do this as quickly as possible. When I wrote to Ms Tucker in May, and she did accept it, she then wrote back to me in June and said the committee could not report until the first sitting day in October. So that was a four-month period. This dates from today, which is now a six-month period. I accept that there is Christmas in between. So I do not think it is unreasonable. I am happy to move the motion, and refer it to the committee. I would like that date but, if there is a problem, perhaps we can settle on the date in the next sittings.

MR SPEAKER: Just a moment, please. Are you prepared to delete the date?

MR STEFANIAK: I am prepared to delete the date at this stage. I seek leave to amend the motion.

Leave granted.

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