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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 01 Hansard (Thursday, 15 December 2016) . . Page.. 209 ..

Thursday, 15 December 2016

MADAM SPEAKER (Ms Burch) took the chair at 10 am and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Portfolio priorities

Ministerial statement

MS BERRY (Ginninderra—Deputy Chief Minister, Minister for Education and Early Childhood Development, Minister for Housing and Suburban Development, Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Minister for Women and Minister for Sport and Recreation) (10.02): I present the following paper:

Portfolio priorities—Minister Berry—Ministerial statement, 15 December 2016.

I am pleased today to speak in this newly elected Assembly to outline some of my own and the government’s key priorities for the next four years. Our ministerial team will talk today about the fundamental principles and goals we are all working on in this term, all grounded in our belief in a happy, fair and safe community. The government’s policy platform reflects the hundreds of thousands of conversations we have had with Canberrans before, during and since the election campaign. And critically, we will keep having these conversations as we go about our work as ministers and members.

I have been both excited and humbled in taking on the education portfolio. It is an area I have been passionate about for many years and I have welcomed the chance to meet with some of our great local teachers, educators and school leaders in recent weeks.

I also want to emphasise the importance of the decision of the Chief Minister and me to include early childhood development in this portfolio. I have worked within this sector for much of my working life. Together, we identified the value in building an early childhood strategy for the ACT, a promise I proudly took to the election.

The great potential for our entire education system is to broaden the horizons of our community. It offers equity and a chance for a great crack at a happy and fulfilling life, wherever you come from and whatever your ability. Regardless of culture, gender, class, race or place, our schools need to be there for every child, and my fundamental priority is to help them in this aim.

Labor’s commitments will provide sustained, system-wide investment and innovative policies across the education system, in addition to key commitments for equity and inclusion, both new and continuing: full implementation of the schools for all program, including 20 new school psychologists; electronic devices for every public high school student; and continued progress on and advocacy for a truly needs-based funding approach under the Gonski agreement.

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