Territory Stories

Debates Day 6 - Thursday 19 October 2017



Debates Day 6 - Thursday 19 October 2017

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Parliamentary Record 8


Debates for 13th Assembly 2016 - 2018; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 13th Assembly 2016 - 2020




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES Thursday 19 October 2017 2741 The Member for Namatjira spoke about Families as First Teachers in Ampilatwatja and Utopia, and the importance of language to school readiness. I wholeheartedly agree with that. We need to focus on family and domestic violence, housing, education, health reform and youth justice. The sad reality is Aboriginal children are overrepresented in the child protection system. We need to keep culture strong on country to empower families. That is why this is about place-based solutions. Communities have to be part of this journey and at the centre of this. What might work in the Darwin community will not necessarily be a cut and paste model of Utopia or other communities. It is important communities are part of that discussion. The Member for Katherine spoke about the 1000-day window and how it has a profound impact on a childs ability and a lasting effect on outcomes in their life. The 2015 Australian Early Development Census showed that we need to do more. We are simply not doing enough for our children before they start school in the Northern Territory. Many strides forward have been made, but there is a lot more to do because our kids are not meeting those developmental milestones. We can see it in our school completion rates and what happens after that. Educational success requires a childs community to be involved . The Member for Katherine also pointed out that language is important. The Member for Sanderson spoke about the need to work with kids early so they are ready for the challenges ahead. Within her electorate she has seen a fantastic effort from Wulagi Primary School, with efforts in FaFT and family centre programs. Early intervention is important because it empowers parents. She commended the work of the Sanderson Alliance, which is a fantastic, community-led partnership between the schools and the community, families and non-government organisations. The work I have seen from them is fantastic. They have driven their approach of data. They have looked at the critical social issues within this area that lead to disadvantage and targeted it that way. I have spoken before about how they have taken on the issue o f family and domestic violence. There was an overrepresentation of family and domestic violence in the area. They have tried to generate community discussion in some of their initiatives. They do a wonderful job. They have a role to play in the early childhood space. The Sanderson electorate has some fantastic programs, early educators, schools and childcare centres that are doing a really good job in this space. The Member for Brennan has come from a background in public health and the corrections system, and he spoke about the importance of wraparound services and seeing government works collectively with different departments and the NGO sector. He recognised Palmerston is a place of many young famili es and the Palmerston Young Mums Strong Mums Program was doing a great job with young mums to help them finish their schooling. If those mums have more opportunities in their life, which there will be if they finish their education, they will create a better future for their kids. They need support and we should support them. That is a great program. We also have the Families as First Teachers program in Palmerston, and what a great job it does. As the assistant minister for mens policy, the Member for Brennan recognises there is no handbook for parenting, and fathers have a very important role to play to make a better start in life for their children. He also recognised that culture is importantmaking sure you respect culture and people are empowered by it because it is special. The Member for Port Darwin spoke about how he has a vested interest in early childhood outcomes with little Laylaas I do with Aiden and Graceand, as a government, it is important that we make sure our plan is with all the partners pulling together in the right direction. This includes government agencies, community, NGOs and the federal government working together; it is an important thing we should do. I always enjoy listening to the Member for Stuarts contributions, particularly about his childhood experiences in the bush; they are fantastic. I love that he gives me an insight into some of the cultural experiences he had growing up with some of them being in remote areas. It brings me back to why I love being on this team and in this parliament. We are all Territorians but have come from such different backgrounds. It brings a great level of understanding from across the Northern Territory. Electorate by electorate there are some real differences but, ultimately, we are all Territorians who want to see great things for our kids. Our kids, no matter where they live, deserve nothing less. I enjoyed hearing about the members passion and belief in the Families as First Teachers program , and how he sees it as being an important focus on the role of parents in raising our children. It is really important to understand the Territory is a place of connections and the Territory government is far reaching; it is important we get it right.