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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 3 August 2017) . . Page.. 2508 ..

The government has now notified the developer that he is in breach of this clause and that he has two options available to him: to submit a development application with a lease variation to extend the completion date or apply for a lease variation to extend the date. It is my understanding that the developer would have a case for an extension, given the legal circumstances surrounding the development, but he does need to put in an application. Following these events, I have in the last few days received a call from the developer requesting a meeting so that he can update me on his progress. I welcome his approach and hope it indicates that community engagement will shortly follow.

While the lack of progress on the Giralang shops is disappointing, we, the ACT government, see no reason why this should hold up other development in Giralang. The government is working to restore the heart of Giralang, including by delivering a park for all residents to enjoy. The government is ensuring the developer is compliant with the terms of his lease and is maintaining the site in accordance with the relevant regulations. The government is committed to delivering a quality, integrated precinct for Giralang, one that the community can contribute to and feel they have ownership of. I look forward to hearing directly from the developer about what he is doing to progress the shops.

OECD education report

MR STEEL (Murrumbidgee) (4.10): I rise to speak about the recent release of the OECD’s 2017 report Starting Strong V on how member states fare with the education of their young children. Since its inception in 2001 the Starting Strong series has, over its five entries, been a driver of policy reform in early childhood education and care, with the most recent report focused on transitions from early childhood education and care to primary education. Policymakers and researchers here in Australia regularly draw upon the series as a benchmark for comparing Australia’s inputs and outcomes as well as providing future policy direction.

The data compiled and the recommendations contained in the series were the major contributors to the formation in 2009 of the national partnership on universal access and the national partnership on the national quality agenda that continue to guide commonwealth and state policies in this area today. The publishing of the latest report is an excellent time to take stock of what we are doing right and to identify where we need to improve.

Australia has made significant strides in boosting access to and ensuring greater quality in early childhood education and care, particularly amongst four-year-olds, although, as the minister mentioned before, funding from the commonwealth for universal access is not certain into the future. However, we do still lag behind other OCED member states. For example, while the participation rate of four-year-olds has risen to 85 per cent, it still lags below the 95 per cent standard in the UK, France, Germany and several Scandinavian countries. We have a particularly poor participation rate in regard to three-year-olds accessing early childhood education and care. We rank in the bottom third of all countries in the OECD in that regard.

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