Page 2407 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 31 July 2018

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MS BERRY: I thank Ms Orr for the supplementary question. Over the coming months I will have a conversation with parents, the early childhood education sector, schools and the wider community about how and when the government will be able to make this vital educational opportunity universally available. The policy objective clearly comes with a financial cost and its incremental implementation will require careful design of a model that is affordable, sustainable but, more importantly, keeps the right focus.

I will be drawing on expertise from outside the government. I will also be ensuring that the conversation on and design of the model will be founded in some important principles that will keep the focus on child outcomes and make sure government investment has the greatest possible impact. Through this process the government will be able to make decisions about funding and other resource constraints so that progressively every three-year-old child in the ACT will have access to free, high quality early childhood education.

Importantly, just as with school education, early childhood education needs to be focused on helping each child to gain a strong start, with government funding flowing to the greatest extent to achieve learning and development. For this reason the government will be shaping the design of this policy around a non-commercial model in the same way we approach school education.

Additionally, a key issue of providing high quality early education is the skill and professionalism of the workforce. Early childhood educators take on enormous responsibility for helping children learn things like the alphabet and how to count, and help children develop important physical, social and emotional skills. The government will be looking at how it can make sure the important work of educators is better valued.

Canberra Hospital—radiology department

MRS KIKKERT: My question is to the Minister for Health and Wellbeing. I refer to media reports on 23 July 2018 about the poor accreditation report for the Canberra Hospital radiology department. The report found:

There is the feeling that the internal political issues make working in the department difficult and cause low morale amongst staff …

It added that there was a “poor working relationship” between senior staff in the radiology department.

Why are internal political issues making working in the radiology department of the Canberra Hospital difficult and causing low morale amongst staff?

MS FITZHARRIS: I note the opposition’s series of questions on this and urge them to be precise about training accreditation in the radiology department. It is a serious matter. Those matters are being attended to.

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