Ms DAWKINS question to MINISTER for EDUCATION and TRAINING, Mr ROCKLIFF
Tasmanian parents, worried about sending toddlers into classrooms, breathed a sigh of relief last night with your Facebook announcement that your Government will no longer proceed with this highly controversial and unpopular plan. The video, we noted, was filmed in bright sunshine, yet posted after dark, which has been noted. Now you have finally listened to the concerns and acted, will you commit to ensuring every cent of funds allocated towards the early starting age will go into the early years education -
Mr Gutwein - Keep commenting on the video.
Ms O'Connor - Can you repeat that, Ms Dawkins? You were rudely interrupted.
Madam SPEAKER - Order. The member can repeat her question.
Ms DAWKINS - Now you have finally listened to the concerns and acted, will you commit to ensuring every cent of the funds allocated towards the early starting age will go into the early education sector, including the early childhood sector and construction of new child and family centres in area of disadvantage?
When will you allocate the money, every single cent, to improve learning outcomes for Tasmanian children?
Madam Speaker, I thank the member for her question. A little ironic, I have to say, given that when a Greens minister was in charge of education the budget initiative was to close 20 schools around Tasmania.
Ms Dawkins - You have done exactly the same thing in the early childhood sector.
Madam SPEAKER - Order.
Mr ROCKLIFF - Greens ministers in education have not been that successful.
Madam SPEAKER - Order. If the Minister would stop provoking then the interjections will cease.
Mr ROCKLIFF - I find the question a little ironic. This initiative will cost $10.5 million a year but will also keep our commitment of recurrent funding of the $4.9 million for extra support in Prep, including teacher assistants from 2020. This recognises the value of the early years and how we can strengthen it. It is about breaking the cycle of disadvantage.
If you look at our recent NAPLAN results there were improvements across all areas for year three. I can attribute that to those investments in the early years. The Launching into Learning initiative and this Government's initiative, Learning and Families Together, which is all about -
Ms O'Connor - It is just a rebadged Launching into Learning.
Mr ROCKLIFF - No, it is not. Again you are wrong. That is a kindergarten to year 2 literacy and numeracy initiative that includes parental engagement. With all these initiatives the investment in early learning is working through evidence of the NAPLAN results. That is why we continue to invest in the early years. That is why I have set up the B4 Coalition, which is being co-chaired by the Children's Commissioner and Elizabeth Daly. Our birth to eight strategy also recognises the importance of early years education. We are committed to assessing our Tasmanian Government kindergartens against the national quality standards for early childhood education and care from 2020, funding those infrastructure requirements and ensuring that commitment is maintained.