Reports the Government has only funded Labor’s Universal Access kindergarten and preschool program until 2018 do nothing to soothe concerns of parents and educators.
As with their recent backdown on funding for Community Legal Centres, the Turnbull Government have ignored that their waffling has meant important community organisations have had to let good staff go – they have no idea if they will be able to afford to pay them.
While Labor welcomes this one year reprieve, it is disappointing the Government has squibbed another opportunity to put preschool and kindergarten programs on a sustainable, long-term footing.
“Preschool works to prepare children for school and for life. Put simply: Kids do better if they go to preschool from the ages of three.” Federal Member for Ballarat, Catherine King said.
“Kindergartens, preschools and educators are sick of the uncertainty. The Government needs to commit to long-term funding.
“It’s crucial that any changes don’t leave our community, not-for-profit and public preschools worse off.
“This is also yet another missed opportunity to outline the steps towards expanding preschool access to three year olds – coming at a time when compelling international evidence shows children who access two years of play-based preschool are 8 months ahead when they start school.
“It’s concerning that while the rest of the world is extending play-based preschool to three-year-olds, the best Malcom Turnbull can do is keep access to federally funded preschool for four-year-olds open for one more year.”