Federal Member for Ballarat, Catherine King today called on the Abbott Government to end the uncertainty and commit to universal access funding for preschools.
“To date the Abbott Government has refused to commit Commonwealth funding for preschools beyond December 2014, threatening to wind back the clock to when just 1 in 10 Australian children has access to 15 hours of preschool per week,” Ms King said.
“The early years are the most important in a child’s education with pre-literacy and pre-numeracy development at preschool building the foundations for lifelong learning.
“Preschool activities are also important to build a child’s self-esteem by promoting social inclusion and a readiness for primary school.”
Labor’s introduction of universal access funding for preschool has seen over 56 per cent of Australian children receiving 15 hours or more of quality education in the year before school, up from just 12 percent in 2008.
“The agreement with the states has substantially increased access to early learning services for local families, delivering major improvements that will change education outcomes, particularly for vulnerable and disadvantaged children,” Ms King said.
“With the new year just months away it’s critical that today’s meeting of the Education Council, which includes State, Territory and Federal Education Ministers, guarantees funding for preschools.
“Without Commonwealth support, local families face increased fees, reduced hours and the likelihood that some local services will be forced to close.
“Our children are currently benefitting from additional hours of early childhood education but if funding does not continue, many children in our community will be left to slip between the cracks.”