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 2742 Within communities we need to make sure people feel safe and that we empower families as much as we can. If we are to help our children reach their full potential we must make sure families are empowered through culture, support or having a say on their future. We recognise that people in the bush deserve as much investment as we see in urban centres; they deserve nothing less. Keeping language, law, culture and connection to country strong will be an important step going forward on this journey for early childhood development and the importance to invest there. The Chief Minister made it very clear why he led from the front about investing in early childhood development and why we made it front and centre of the 2016 election campaign. He has always said he wants to close the gap so that day one, term one, year one, we have all children school ready and ready to thrivethat we have the right programs in place, place-based solutions and a long-term plan based on evidence and with community ownership. We need to collaborate more to deliver better services for kids. Leaving a better Territory for the next generation by investing in kids is the whole purpose of this government. It is exactly what we are focused on. The Member for Braitling reaffirmed that family support services that build on prevention and early intervention are critical. Investment in parents as first teachers is important, making sure fathers are part of this. We have to continue to support dual pathways and tackle the issue of domestic and family violence. The member has been clear with me, as the Minister for Children, that in order to get the best outcomes in early childhood development we must look at domestic and family violence to get good support for families, especially when they have young children. We need to ensure we give good support to those kids. The Member for Nightcliff and Minister for Health sits on the childrens sub-committee of Cabinet and spoke of FASD being a preventable disability, as well as the work happening with the NDIS to provide individualised support in early childhood education. The member spoke of the work of the department to update the yellow book, which is a critical record of your childs health and development and how we can improve it. She spoke about making sure programs with our nurses and health workers going into the family home is embedded as a core program. Those interactions with families, focused on the child, really help if there are any issues. They help give the family extra support if there are challenges. The Member for Drysdale, as an experienced educator, teacher and principal, has been in the public service and knows this better than most, outlaid the importance of investment in early childhood. The Department of Education does a wonderful job, and has done for a long time, in early childhood development. It has been a leader in government, doing a lot of work in that space along with the Department of Health. We acknowledge they have done a wonderful job. We have the strongest form of communication between those critical government agencies, working together in the best interests of the child. The member is driving the work in the early childhood space, particularly the roll-out of the Families as First Teachers program, something she was involved with under a former Labor government. The Member for Karama does a lot of work in her community. She has special skills and expertise in community development, support, working in the mental health space and working to support families. It was great to hear her input. What I took away from the Member for Fong Lims contribution is the element of diversity in this place. We have many different backgrounds in this Chamber and the children of the Northern Territory also come from many different backgrounds. All kids in the Northern Territory deserve our focus and investment so they have good health services when they are young, access to education and development, good housing and good care to help them thrive. I thank the members for their efforts in this debate. It is an important debate. The investment we make in children in the Northern Territory will be the biggest positive change we can make for the future of the Northern Territory. If we get this right our investment for early childhood development will drive generational change. The early childhood development plan is out for consultation. I urge people to have their say, to feed in their expertise and experience. By working together we can have better outcomes for our kids, which we need to