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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 4 Hansard (29 March) . . Page.. 1186 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

The Government is committed to prevention and early intervention for young children and their families. In recognition of the importance of the year before school for children's development, the Government invests approximately $12.4 million annually in preschool education. It is excellent system with a 98% parent satisfaction in 1999/2000.

The Government recognises the importance of early childhood services for children from birth to eight years of age. For this reason the Draft three year strategic plan for preschools in the ACT has a major goal to improve transitions between early childhood settings. The Government believes in the importance of reviewing and strengthening links between early childhood services to enhance the social capital of the ACT community.

The Standing Committee highlighted the funding of preschool places in child care settings as a gap in the report and recommended that the Government provide the Committee with an issues paper on funding preschool education in long day care centres. The Government is committed to making preschool education accessible to the community.

While there are clearly resource implications, the Government believes there is value in further developing the concept. The Government will develop an issues paper to examine the financial and other implications of funding the delivery of preschool education services in community settings.

The Standing Committee has provided the Government with excellent feedback from the range of parties interested in preschool education. The Committee process has provided the community with the opportunity to comment on the draft plan and to influence the shape of the final strategic plan.

This means that when the final plan for preschools is released this year, the Government can be confident it will set a clear direction for ACT Government preschools. The final plan will develop and extend the best attributes of the system to meet the needs of children and families in the ACT.

Mr Speaker, I commend the Government Response to the members of the Assembly.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Indigenous education-government performance

Paper and statement by minister

MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education and Attorney-General) (4.00): For the information of members and in accordance with the resolution of the Assembly of 24 May 2000, I present the following paper:

Indigenous Education-Six monthly report to 28 February 2001.

I ask for leave to make a statement about the report.

Leave granted.

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