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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 10 Hansard (Tuesday, 12 September 2017) . . Page.. 3578 ..

One of the most important things we can do when loved ones leave us is to speak well of them. To contribute to this today, I wish to quote Mrs Jones:

Bradyn was a “mummy’s boy” who always looked at me with such love and told me I was beautiful. Very few people are able to make me feel as special as he made me feel. Bradyn had a way of making everybody around him feel joyful and was extremely compassionate for a boy of his age. If there was ever someone left out, he would ensure they felt included and went out of his way to make them happy.

What a tragedy to lose such a happy, cheery, loving boy. To all who loved him, I wish to say that I am so, so sorry and give my sincerest condolences. Last week was National Child Protection Week, sponsored by the National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, or NAPCAN. As Leesa Waters, Deputy CEO of NAPCAN, has said, we must not “wait until a child has been abused or neglected before we do something. We need to work together as a community to stop this from happening in the first place.”

We in the Assembly must do all we can as well. Those responsible for child protection need to be fully transparent when tragedies such as this occur. The public have a right to know what went wrong so that they can be assured that necessary changes have been made. Robust independent review of decisions made needs to be an option. Parents must know that they have somewhere to turn when they feel no one is listening to them. We must do all we can to prevent this kind of tragedy ever happening again. We owe it to Mrs Jones and all those who loved Bradyn.

Education—early childhood

MR STEEL (Murrumbidgee) (4.51): I rise today to draw members’ attention to the State of early learning in Australia report published by the Early Learning: Everyone Benefits campaign. The state of early learning in Australia 2017 is the second report in a series tracking progress across a range of different early childhood education and care outcome measures. It provides a picture of how far Australia and states and territories have come in the area of early childhood, where we are doing well and where we need to focus our efforts to improve children’s outcomes.

The report has built on the inaugural State of early learning in Australia report in 2016, which I was proud to author in my previous role before coming into the Assembly. Importantly, the second report in the series reflects on trends emerging in the data from the baseline report.

Across Australia roughly one-third of children from birth to two years participate in early childhood education and care. But in the ACT we have the highest rate of birth to two-year-olds, 46 per cent, attending early learning, which is likely to reflect city characteristics and also higher market wages and greater workforce participation here.

Early childhood education and care participation rates are higher in the Australian Capital Territory than in any other jurisdiction, at 72 per cent, which is likely to reflect great demand for long day care based on workforce participation patterns as well.

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