Every newborn baby will get a ‘flying start’ to their education with a free children’s book, Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt announced today.

Mr Pitt said the $250,000 program would ensure every new parent had access to reading material essential for their child’s development.

“Recent national Australian Early Development Index survey on child preparedness for school revealed that Queensland children at 61 per cent are well below the national average at 77 per cent,” Mr Pitt said.

“We must give the 60,000 plus new Queenslanders born each year the best possible start to their education.

“From 1 July this year new parents will get a free children’s book especially produced for Queensland kids.

“The books will be made available to parents in hospitals when they receive their new parents packs.

“The program will initially run for two years after which the book and its contents will be evaluated.

“The Bligh Government pledged to ensure our kids are on the right track from the day one and this program will reinforce to parents the importance of reading to their children.”

Mr Pitt said the “Flying Start” for Queensland children program was part of a mass of initiatives being delivered by the Bligh Government.

“This week we opened the first Kindy as part of our $321 million election commitment to deliver 240 new kindergarten services throughout the state,” Mr Pitt said.

“Along with participating long day centres, we are ensuring every Queensland child has a kindergarten place by 2014.

“Our children are already performing better in 17 of the 20 national testing areas and our $10million a day in education infrastructure spending is placing state-of-the-art facilities and technology at their fingertips.

“It is also important that parents, teachers and community members got involved in the Government’s discussion paper into the education reforms.

“These reforms are necessary for the future of our education system and I implore everyone to take an active role in the consultation process.”

The public consultation is aimed at better preparing our children for primary and secondary schools and ensuring the quality of teaching across all schools.  Have your say online,  email, post or through one of the consultation forums before 30 June 2010.

The Green Paper reflects the Queensland Government’s Toward Q2 Smart goals for 2020 – that all children would have access to a quality early childhood education and three out of four Queenslanders would hold trade, training or tertiary qualifications.