Page 5421 - Week 14 - Thursday, 30 November 2017

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this town will be affected by a cut to penalty rates. Income is a very important part in a person’s ability to be able to afford a home of their own.

Ms Lawder: Policy settings.

MS BERRY: We have set the policy settings. We have made the bold and courageous changes to our tax levers to ensure that more people get into homes. That is what we continue to call on the federal government to do: be bold and courageous like the Chief Minister has been here in the ACT and change the tax levers, remove capital gains tax and negative gearing and make a difference in our city and across the country on affordable housing so everybody can have the same goals and aspirations as the rest of us enjoy.

Opposition members interjecting

MS BERRY: Thank you, Madam Speaker, for listening to the response to that question.

Families—preparatory programs for preschool children

MR STEEL: My question is to the Minister for Disability, Children and Youth. Minister, what programs does the government provide to support families and children as they approach school age?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Mr Steel for his question and recognise his ongoing commitment to achieving positive outcomes for children in our community.

The Community Services Directorate has been working with the Education Directorate to develop and deliver tailored intervention programs that focus on providing children with the best possible start to their education by enabling a smooth transition into formal schooling. Two such programs that have recently been delivered to families are preparedness for preschool—known as prep for pre—and big school ready.

A key aim of prep for pre is to equip families with knowledge, strategies and confidence to support their child’s physical, social, emotional, cognitive and language development prior to starting preschool. As part of these programs, children gain extra skills and confidence by participating in interactive play sessions modelled on what a child will experience in a typical preschool program.

Prep for pre recognises that some families face challenges when it comes time to introduce their children to the early stages of formal education. The program gives families access to specialist expertise to help ensure that children who need a little more support get the best start to their school career. A multidisciplinary team comprising early childhood teachers, child and family workers, speech therapists, occupational therapists and physiotherapists from the child development service has successfully delivered the program across all four sites this term.

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