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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 5 Hansard (8 May) . . Page.. 1329 ..

MS GALLAGHER (continuing):

I note that the federal government's latest report, Child Care and Beyond, found that a big problem facing child care is public perceptions about workers in the child-care industry and that work needs to be done to improve the status and standing of those caring for and educating our children in the early years.

I think the steps being taken by Mr Corbell to inquire into the issues faced by the child-care industry will begin to inform a debate that has implications for thousands of families in the ACT. This work will also help to inform the national debate. The issues are complex, and we need to look at them carefully. It would certainly help if the federal government would fund increases to wages whilst these issues were being looked at, but I think that is highly unlikely.

The ACT government has taken the initiative to look into child care in the ACT, and it is an important piece of work. I look forward to hearing back from the minister once the review has been completed. I would like to finish up by congratulating and acknowledging the continuing efforts of the LHMU in their attempts to organise this industry and to improve the wages and conditions of workers in child-care services.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

School retention rates

MR PRATT (4.12): Mr Speaker, I seek to amend the motion standing in my name on the notice paper.

Leave granted.

MR PRATT: I move:

That this Assembly:

(1) notes the claims of the Labor Party platform during the 2001 ACT election campaign that retention rates in ACT schools were falling in recent years;

(2) further notes that figures published last week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) indicate that;

(a) retention rates in the ACT have been rising at seven times the national average; and that

(b) ACT retention rates are the highest in Australia;

(2A) further notes the pleasing results demonstrating national leadership in the recently published literacy and numeracy tests; and

(3) express confidence in the ACT school system as leading the nation in educational outcomes.

I move this motion because I represent the concerns of a community that wishes to see that the present ACT education system is not eroded or degraded. It is very important to right a wrong, to correct quite a strong misconception in the community and to ensure

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