Government under pressure to properly fund early learning

Monday, 25 November 2019

The pressure is on the government this week when it comes to early learning, with two reports highlighting where the Morrison Government is failing in early education.

The State of Early Learning in Australia 2019 report released today shows while progress has been made over the last decade in improving access and quality of early education, Australia is lagging behind other countries when it comes to investment in early learning.

It highlights that Australia ranks 11 out of the 21 surveyed OECD countries for investment in early learning, and that Federal Government investment per child fell between 2016 and 2019 – a shocking indictment of the Liberals record.

The report also highlights the government’s failure to ensure vulnerable and at-risk children can access early learning, confirming children from Indigenous and non-English speaking backgrounds, living in remote areas, and those with a disability are under-represented in early education.

It also confirms that low-income families spend almost double the proportion of their income on early education than high income families, despite the government promising the biggest winners from their new child care system would be those on a lower income.

This week early education advocates are also presenting a report to Canberra urging the government to extend preschool funding to three year olds.

However while advocates are calling for funding for two years of preschool, the Morrison Government is considering cutting federal funding for four year old preschool.

This third-term government has continually refused to provide long-term funding for one year of preschool. They’ve begrudgingly rolled funding over six times in six years, with the current funding running out next year.

Cutting funding to preschools would not only be a disaster for the future of our children, but a disaster for the economy.

The evidence is in about the long-term economic and social benefits from proper investment in early education, including in the areas of unemployment, homelessness and mental health.

It is time this government listens to the evidence and properly invests in early learning.

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