LNP deputy opposition leader Deb Frecklington joined LNP candidate for Keppel Peter Blundell (left) and LNP candidate for Rockhampton Douglas Rodgers to launch their free hearing tests policy.
LNP deputy opposition leader Deb Frecklington joined LNP candidate for Keppel Peter Blundell (left) and LNP candidate for Rockhampton Douglas Rodgers to launch their free hearing tests policy. Leighton Smith

LNP pledges to give CQ preppies free hearing tests

HAVING school children who can clearly hear their teacher's lessons was the aim of a new education policy released by the LNP in Rockhampton yesterday.

LNP's deputy leader Deb Frecklington, along with the LNP Rockhampton candidate Douglas Rodgers and Keppel candidate Peter Blundell, proudly unveiled the $6m plan to screen prep students to enable the early detection of hearing loss to give them the best start to their education.

"A future LNP government will provide free hearing tests for all children from the Keppel and Rockhampton area going into prep,” Ms Frecklington said.

"We've got about 50,000 kids that head off to prep school every year in Queensland and it'll cost the state around $30 per child.

"It is important because many kids actually end up in school with diminished hearing and we need to give them the best opportunity possible to make sure that their school life goes really well for them.”

LNP deputy opposition leader Deb Frecklington with LNP candidate for Rockhampton Douglas Rodgers launch free hearing tests for prep students.
LNP deputy opposition leader Deb Frecklington with LNP candidate for Rockhampton Douglas Rodgers launch free hearing tests for prep students. Leighton Smith

Ms Frecklington said as a parent of three daughters herself, she expected parents throughout CQ to welcome the announcement.

"They get to make sure that their child has the best chance when they start in school and can have the confidence that their child can hear properly,” she said.

"If they do have a hearing problem, it can be dealt with through Queensland Health.

"And the teachers will know what issues are facing the kids that are before them.”

Mr Rodgers said the importance of children getting the hearing tests couldn't be understated.

LNP deputy opposition leader Deb Frecklington with LNP candidate for Keppel Peter Blundell (left) and LNP candidate for Rockhampton Douglas Rodgers
LNP deputy opposition leader Deb Frecklington with LNP candidate for Keppel Peter Blundell (left) and LNP candidate for Rockhampton Douglas Rodgers Leighton Smith

"I've got family and friends who are teachers and early childhood educators who have told me time and again how important it is to have those baseline tests that we know whether children are hearing properly,” Mr Rodgers said.

"A lot of behavioural issues come down to kids not actually being able to hear properly so that's a really positive step and I'm sure it will be well received around the classrooms of Queensland.

Mr Blundell said this hearing test announcement was one component of the LNP's education policy aimed at delivering a more inclusive education system.

Minister for Health Cameron Dick said yesterday's announcement by the LNP to provide free hearing tests for prep children was nothing more than an election stunt and shows how little they understand about the health system.

Queensland Health Minister Cameron Dick say the LNP plan involves duplication of existing services.
Queensland Health Minister Cameron Dick say the LNP plan involves duplication of existing services. Bev Lacey

"Children's Health Queensland (CHQ) already provides universal newborn hearing screening to 62,000 babies each year, through the Healthy Hearing program,” Mr Dick said.

He said Children's Health Queensland has targeted hearing screening programs in place for children with identified risk factors.

"There is no evidence to support universal hearing screening for preschool and school aged children,” he said.

"The LNP's plan duplicates services already in place, and will divert resources from more useful programs.

"Our commitment is to make sure every child in Queensland starts school with the best possible chance to succeed.”



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