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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 6 June 2018) . . Page.. 2117 ..

equipping students with skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines now.

In the budget $5.76 million will be invested in a future skills academy in Chisholm, which will deepen education in STEM subjects and spark children’s interests in these fields. This is going to be one of two STEM hubs in the ACT. Teachers will also be able to learn skills and access accredited training in the STEM fields at this academy, which will provide benefits across the whole ACT education system.

We are building strong local school communities as well, and that is a priority for our government because we value the role that parents play in children’s education. When parents value education, we know that that has a huge impact on children’s educational outcomes. We will fund $600,000 for a dedicated parental engagement officer to help schools and parents to work together to foster positive outcomes for students. Parents care about their child’s school, and building strong local communities is a priority for us.

Along with funding for school education, I am particularly pleased to see additional funding for education in the early years: $6.7 million over four years will go towards a comprehensive early childhood strategy which is under development. The strategy will focus on the promotion of equity in the early childhood education and care sector, and it is also important to note that this strategy will recognise the importance of quality in early childhood education for lifelong learning outcomes. We know that the core benefit from the participation in early childhood education and care is derived from the quality of the education provided. That is what all the research says—trained early childhood professionals interacting with children in quality learning environments, that is what makes a real difference.

At a time when the federal Liberal government is stepping away from quality in education, particularly early childhood education, in the federal budget, our Labor government remains committed to ensuring that quality is at the centre of learning in early childhood, and we are committed to the national quality framework that sets those quality standards and the learning outcomes for all children through our early years learning framework.

As the amendment to my motion and the budget demonstrate, our government is growing education and education infrastructure to ensure our education system keeps on getting even better, reflecting our Labor government’s values and priorities. Our ACT Labor government will continue to provide more schools and better schools, with supported teachers and stronger school communities, to deliver an education system that grows Canberra’s future prosperity.

Amendment agreed to.

MS LEE (Kurrajong) (4.34): I thank Mr Steel for bringing on this motion for debate, because education is extremely important and should be a top priority for any government and any community. While Mr Steel might have thought a motion on education drafted and submitted before the budget a good idea, he may have cause to

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