Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 27 November 2002



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 27 November 2002

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Parliamentary Record 9


Debates for 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005




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 - Wednesday 27 November 2002 what happened and am confident that they will be adequately rebuilt. They are an important part of our heritage and, hopefully, it will reach heritage listing - which it should at this stage, I believe - and those abutments will exist and be part of our heritage trail. It is very disappointing that it happened. Also, part of the work done by ADrail has been to identify many of our heritage sites that were not previously identified and give us a much better opportunity to protect them. So, while there have been negatives, there are certainly positives from what ADrail has done. What we heard from the Opposition Leader was the most churlish and bad tempered response to anything that we have heard in here for a considerable time. Simply the inaccuracy of Royal Commissions and all kinds of rubbish, accusing the government of having owned this project. Where did I say Labor Party in one comment I made? It is bipartisan and I expect your support. Members inteijecting. Madam SPEAKER: Order! Mr Burke: You and your Labor mates wanted a Royal Commission before we signed the contract. Ms MARTIN: I did not. Madam SPEAKER: Leader of the Opposition, order! Recently, when I drove to Darwin, I was more than impressed by the amount of work that has been done on the railway, and the speed with which it has been done. It is a very impressive project and we should all get behind it and congratulate ADrail which is doing a fantastic job. If you have not driven up, perhaps is something you should do over the Christmas period. Mobile Preschool Programs Mr STIRLING (Employment, Education and Training): Madam Speaker, it is just wonderful to be here and share in the Christmas good spirit and good will that emanates through the Chamber at this time of year. Mobile preschool programs, Madam Speaker, have been established by DEET under the early childhood component of the National Indigenous English Literacy and Numeracy Strategy. Mobile preschools aim to increase the enrolment, attendance and participation of indigenous children in early childhood experiences and prepare for their commencement of formal schooling through exposure to pre-literacy and numeracy activities. In 2001, 40% of schools in the Territory did not offer approved preschool programs, and of these 40%, all the schools are in remote areas. The Learning Lessons review made several recommendations about early childhood experiences and programs in recognition of the vital importance of an early acquisition of literacy. The review pointed out that the children who fall behind are unlikely to catch up and in fact are more likely to find the gap widening in secondary school. The mobile preschools are part of addressing the problem. Mobile preschools provide access to early childhood programs for three to five year old children, and their families, who live in isolated, remote areas where there is no approved preschool program currently operating. The pilot programs commenced during 2002 in the following sites, and have the following enrolment numbers: Anindilyakwa, Groote Eylandt - that includes Umbakumba, Milyakburra - 31 children; the Katherine cluster: Timber Creek, Mataranka, Bulman, Urapunga, Bulla Camp - 39 children; the Yelgun/Arnhem cluster, Gunyangara, Yirrkala, Dhalinybuy, Biranybirany, Ramingirr - 54 children; and Elliott/Newcastle Waters - 12 children. That is 136 children provided with a preschool experience in communities where there has previously not been a preschool opportunity. For many indigenous students the school is the predominant - in many cases the only - site of literacy and numeracy practice and it is critical every effort is made to introduce the precursors of literacy and numeracy available at all possible environments. Literacy and numeracy precursors include, importantly, access to paper and writing equipment for scribble and formative letter making, and structured play to introduce both literacy and numeracy concepts, for example, measurement, shape, location, handling and interpretation of quantitative data. In mobile preschools children are provided with age appropriate play-based activities consistent with best practice noted above which is available to urban children in all preschool programs. The mobile preschool programs are developed by qualified early childhood teachers and delivered locally by locally recruited staff. Professional development is provided to these staff regularly by DEET Indigenous Early Childhood Officers. Each mobile preschool site is equipped with a specialised play pack comprising a variety of early childhood resources and activities, for example, puzzles, books, playdough, paints, music, block construction, cars, trucks, bikes, basketball sets, climbing and sand play equipment, home comer material, puppets and many more. Play packs are rotated between sites and are 3034