Release type: Transcript


Doorstop - Ballarat


The Hon Dr Anne Aly MP
Minister for Early Childhood Education
Minister for Youth

JOURNALIST: So, obviously this is a really big announcement for you guys today. Talk to me about, I guess, why investing in early childhood is so important?

MINISTER ANNE ALY: Oh, it's hugely important. Those first five years of a child's life is where 90 per cent of brain development occurs. And all the research tells us, and all the evidence tells us that if you get those first five years right, you really set up children for life, right, right through primary school, through adolescence and high school, and right into adulthood. So, investing in those first five years makes a huge difference throughout a child's life. And we also know this other thing - we also know that you can't really disentangle education from healthcare, from parental support, from all of those other things. And that's what Connected Beginnings does, it recognises that to really look at the well-being of a child in those first key five years, you have to wrap around them. These are also traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural practices. These are their cultural and educational practices of wrapping around a child, ensuring that a child's whole holistic needs are met, that their whole well-being is looked after.

JOURNALIST: Obviously, this is a big funding boost for indigenous, well, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. And why is it so important to invest in those communities? Obviously, it's been a really, really tough couple years for these communities, so putting this funding into them is really important.

ALY: Yeah. So, we're putting in $1.8 million to the Ballarat site here. And across the nation, we've got a target of getting to 50 Connected Beginning sites by the end of the year. We're well on track to achieve that. So, we're at 40. We're well on track to achieve the 50. Why it's important for First Nations Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children is because we know that they have lower rates of attendance in early childhood education and care, and we've seen that with Connected Beginnings sites, it actually has improved in closing the gap for early childhood education and care and attendance in early childhood education and care and in the first years of preschool and school. So, that's the first thing. 

The second thing is really recognising the cultural practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people working with community on those cultural practices, those kinds of wrap-around services that I mentioned before that is really entrenched in Aboriginal culture, in how they raise children and how their understanding and their approach to child development, which is actually a model for all child development, really. Like I said, you can't really disentangle education, from healthcare, from parenting, from a whole range of other things. So, it's important because it does. We have a gap that's a well-documented gap. And we know that Connected Beginnings makes such a difference to closing that gap.