Page 3350 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 18 September 2013

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understand it, brochures were part of it and some of the other things you mentioned—given the society currently delivers these services, and at a considerably cheaper cost?

MS BURCH: I think the question is: what consultation was with the Preschool Society. The Education and Training Directorate talk regularly with the Preschool Society. We will utilise them where it is appropriate to do so, but we will also utilise our own internal networks and communications where it is appropriate to do so.

MR GENTLEMAN: Supplementary.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Gentleman.

MR GENTLEMAN: Minister, how important is it to support early learning in preschool?

MS BURCH: I thank Mr Gentleman for his interest in preschool and early years education. We have always been very strongly committed to recognising the value of early education, not only in long day care but also in family day care and particularly in our preschool environment. We have supported the training and supported the professionalisation of that sector as well through CIT training, not only through certificate III but through a diploma in early education and care.

Recognising that, I think it is disappointing that the new incoming federal government is looking to unpack the work of the national quality framework and appears to have little regard for the importance of those early years, and indeed little regard for the early education workforce and the significant work that was undertaken through the big steps campaign to make sure that this workforce, which does an incredibly important job for our community, makes sure that our little ones get the best start to life—because we know that a good start to life will set them up for workforce participation and other opportunities in the years ahead.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Lawder.

MS LAWDER: Minister, when will a preschool matters centralised online information resource be established, as per the election commitment?

MS BURCH: I refer you to the My School website that has a lot of information, and the Education and Training Directorate will particularly focus on early education given that the early education care, or the CPRU, has been transferred over to that directorate. Over time there will increasingly be a more centralised approach to this, but that information already exists. We produce a booklet now on children’s services that covers the breadth of opportunities for families in children services in the ACT. We currently do that.

Higher education—study Canberra initiative

MS PORTER: My question is to the Minister for Higher Education. Chief Minister, in your role as Minister for Higher Education can you outline to the Assembly the importance of the government’s study Canberra initiative and how your recent visit to China will help deliver the government’s higher education objectives?

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