Page 3234 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 23 August 2017

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government will not allow the potential of a great education to be limited because all children have not been adequately supported according to needs in their early years. A key focus of this strategy will be equity.

Based on initial work and early feedback, some themes are already becoming clear. I have already touched on access, equity and affordability. Cost, geographical factors, disadvantage and similar issues should not prevent any early childhood services reaching those that need them. There is a clear need to consider the issues of transition: the need for systemised approaches that provide continuity of knowledge about a child’s development between early childhood services and school and community services, to improve a child’s confidence in managing change. Related to this is how the government and the sector partner with key services such as child and family health and community services.

Finally, and very importantly, there is a need to value early childhood education and educators as a profession and consider in this strategy issues related to workforce, qualifications and professionalism.

MS CODY: Minister, how can members of the community be involved in this work?

MS BERRY: Just as with the future of education conversation, I value the input of all interested members of our community in the development of the early childhood strategy. I am keen to hear from educators and teachers, service providers and community sector organisations, parent and community bodies, non-government schools, professional organisations, unions, academics, policy experts and others with an interest in this area.

As discussion papers are released—and apart from them—I encourage anyone with a contribution to submit it. Some people might have a desire to provide a detailed, lengthy, academic submission. Others might have the opportunity to provide only a sentence or two. All input is welcomed.

The strategy, just as with the future of education strategy, will be developed with expert guidance and rigour, but will be founded in a genuine conversation with the community. The government respects the expertise of educators and teachers. We value their insight. The government also values the perspective and views of children and parents, alongside a whole range of service providers who are involved in our children’s lives. These strategies will not be thrust upon the community; they will be drawn up from the community.

Homelessness—overnight shelters

MR PARTON: My question is to the Minister for Housing and Suburban Development. It is in relation to the report last month of overloaded night shelters for the homeless. We are talking about Safe Shelter and Samaritan House. Minister, what contact have you had with organisations providing night shelter services for the homeless in Canberra, and why is the government not adequately responding to this crisis?

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