Page 361 - Week 01 - Thursday, 16 February 2012

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Education and care services national regulation

Paper and statement by minister

MS BURCH (Brindabella—Minister for Community Services, Minister for the Arts, Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Minister for Ageing, Minister for Women and Minister for Gaming and Racing): For the information of members, I present the following paper:

Education and Care Services National Law—Education and Care Services National Regulations, dated 9 December 2011, together with an explanatory statement.

I seek leave to make a statement in relation to the paper.

Leave granted.

MS BURCH: It is my pleasure to table the final step in implementing the legislative framework for the national quality framework. I am here to table the education and care services national regulations. As you are aware, Madam Assistant Speaker, the ACT government committed to the national quality agenda through the national partnership agreement on the national agenda for early childhood education and care back in 2009. The reforms undertaken as a result of our commitment to this agreement will improve education and development outcomes for the children attending ACT education and care services.

This includes reforms for long day care, family day care, independent preschools, ACT public preschool units and outside-of-school age care. They will reduce the regulatory burden for service providers as well as providing for greater efficiency and cost effectiveness of the regulatory process.

The reforms will see an increase in public awareness of the importance of education and care services in the critical early years of a child’s development. The reforms will focus attention on the education and care workforce and the vital role educators play in the lives of children and families. A key part of this will be the ongoing process of further increasing the skills of the highly dedicated workforce.

The national quality framework came into effect from January 1 of this year following the passing of the Education and Care Services National Law (ACT) Act 2011 by this Legislative Assembly on 25 October 2011. One of the key components of the framework is the regulations which provide for the application of the national law. These were provided and approved by the Ministerial Council for Education, Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs last October, following which they were released to the sector.

The importance of the regulations for the education and care sector cannot be overstated and is reflected in the significant consultation both locally and nationally that has taken place during their development. This partnership has been vital in the process of working towards the implementation of the framework and it is, I believe, why the ACT’s education and care sector is appreciative of the need of these reforms.

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