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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 15 Hansard (Wednesday, 9 December 2009) . . Page.. 5538 ..

funded unified national framework will apply, replacing current licensing and accreditation processes undertaken by states and the commonwealth.

This new framework will deliver a better quality for children through a national single quality standard which will improve interactions between children and carers based on better-qualified staff and lower staff to child ratios. This will provide quality time to focus on individual children’s needs. The quality standard will also provide national uniform standards in seven key areas, including educational programs and practice, children’s health and safety, physical environment, staffing relationships with children, partnerships with families and communities, and leadership and service management. This will ensure that every childcare centre, family day program and preschool provides quality service.

Finally, the quality standard will provide a new transparent rating system that will provide parents with information to easily compare services and make informed choices about which service best meets their child’s needs and encourage services to put an ongoing emphasis on quality improvement.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Hargreaves, a supplementary question?

MR HARGREAVES: Thanks very much.

Members interjecting—

MR SPEAKER: Order, members!

MR HARGREAVES: Have we finished yet, guys? Thank you, well-behaved little children. Minister, could you tell us how the Labor governments are making it easier for parents to make decisions about their children’s childcare provider?

MS BURCH: I thank the member for his interest in childcare. The early years of a child’s life are important to our children’s development, so any information that can make it easier for parents to make the right decision is also important. The ACT Labor government is committed to assisting parents to make good decisions through a national quality standard which combines seven quality areas with a five-point scale rating system: of excellent, high quality, national quality standard, operating requirements, and unsatisfactory to describe the quality of early childhood education and care outside the school-hours services.

Services will receive an overall rating, followed by an assessment against the national quality standards and a rating against each of the seven quality areas. Services which offer preschool programs will also display this information alongside their overall rating. All services will be required to display their approval and rating information and it will also be available on the internet. I would like to draw members’ attention to the website which has recently been updated with new features. This fantastic site currently provides up-to-date information on childcare vacancies at centres across the ACT offering long day care, family day care, occasional, outside school hours and vacation care.

MR SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Seselja?

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