Andrew Giles, the chair of Labor’s Caucus Committee for Education, Science, Skills Research and the Arts this morning visited the Goodstart Early Learning Centre in Delacombe to talk about preschool and kindergarten education, with Catherine King, Federal Member for Ballarat.
While the Government has confirmed continued funding to ensure access to preschool and kindergarten for the next two years, parents may be concerned that there is no guarantee that this program will continue after that time.
Labor established the Universal Access program in 2009 to ensure all children have access to 15 hours of preschool of kindergarten in the year before school, in recognition of the transformative impact of early education for children.
“Programs like those at this early learning centre have been shown to make a real difference in the early brain development of children, and that’s why the “15 hour best start” campaign was so important,” Andrew Giles said.
“To improve performance and equity in education, all kids need access to the best start they can have – but it took a concerted campaign to get the government to guarantee any funding for 15 hours of preschool education.”
The Australian community fought hard for the Abbott Government to fund this program, after previously only extending it for twelve months. Thousands of Australians added their voice to Labor’s 15 Hour Best Start campaign, initiated as a response to the Government’s failure to fund preschool and kindergarten beyond 2015.
Catherine King commented “Since this program began in 2008 we’ve seen enrolment rates climb to around 90% of preschool kids. Parents across the country know that early learning matters, and joined Labor in fighting for access for their kids.
“The loss of funding for this program would be a massive step backwards for Australian early childhood education. Many Australians added their voice to Labor’s 15 Hour Best Start campaign, and the government should listen to them, and guarantee this program will continue into the future.”