Monday, 02 September 2019
This week is Early Learning Matters week.
Early Learning Matters week is an important opportunity to reflect on the importance and value of early education.
Labor values early education because of the proven positive impact it has on the development of children. We know that quality learning experiences in the first five years of a child’s life play an integral role in their development.
We also know early educators provide valuable care and support to families across Australia, including those that are vulnerable and at risk.
Furthermore, early education actually makes Australia’s economy stronger. For every dollar interested in early learning, our economy gets two dollars back and it plays an important role in allowing women to return to work.
Labor has always and will always value early education. That is why Labor fundamentally believes early education should be accessible, affordable and high quality.
It is why when in Government Labor created universal access to preschool for four year olds, increased the child care rebate from 30 to 50 per cent and introduced the National Quality Framework to lift standards in early education.
Unfortunately, the Liberal Government’s attitude to early learning is the complete opposite. Education Minister Dan Tehan summed up how little this Government values early education when he labelled taxpayer funding of early education and care “communism”.
The Liberals refuse to provide long-term funding certainty for four year old preschool or extend the program to three year olds.
They have overseen a staggering 28 per cent increase in child care fees and their child care changes have left 1 in 4 families worse off, making it harder and harder for families to afford care.
They cut $20 million from the national safety and quality program, jeopardising the quality of children’s care.
Families and educators deserve a government that values early education and understands that early learning matters.