Children in the top end set to benefit from extension of preschool access to 3 year olds

Friday, 16 November 2018

Labor’s National Preschool and Kindy Program will see a $20 million investment for children in the Northern Territory and deliver two years of subsidised early learning.

Last month Labor announced our plans to extend preschool access to three year olds and commit to ongoing funding for four year old preschool.

This is the biggest ever investment in early education for children in the Northern Territory.

Under our plan, more than 3,500 three year olds in the Northern Territory alone will be able to access 15 hours of subsidised care.

The Liberal Government have been in such chaos they sent out the 2019 national partnership agreement to the states and territories with barely three months left before the start of the new school year.

Whilst funding for this agreement was announced in February this year, the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison has been so focused on itself that it took 234 days to send this agreement to the Northern Territory Government.

And, they still refuse to fund preschools after next year, meaning the 2019 agreement is the last.

This leaves more than 3,880 four year old pre-schoolers in the Northern Territory in limbo.

In stark contrast, Labor’s National Preschool and Kindy Program will provide ongoing funding for four year olds from the year 2020. This is funding certainty for the more than 1,890 preschoolers in Solomon and, 1980 preschoolers in Lingiari.

Labor’s plan is good for Top End children, good for parents, and good for the economy:

  • Children – Studies have shown that children who access quality early education achieve better results in tests throughout their schooling. Early education is particularly vital in closing the disadvantage gap before a child starts school. Labor’s plan will see around 340,000 three year olds and a similar number of four year olds able to access preschool every year.
  • Parents – One of the biggest barriers to accessing early education is finance – expanding access will help with the cost of living, help parents balance work and family and help reduce the child care bill for families with children already in early education.
  • Economy – evidence shows that the return on investment in early childhood education is significant. A recent study form the EU showed that for every dollar spent on early childhood education for 3 year olds, $4 was returned to the economy.

Labor will work in partnership with the states and territories to deliver this important reform, including in setting enrolment and attendance targets, particularly for Indigenous and vulnerable children.

Only Labor will give every child the early education opportunities they need for the best start in life.

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