Wednesday, 03 October 2018
BILL SHORTEN MP
LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS & ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDERS
MEMBER FOR MARIBYRNONG
THE HON AMANDA RISHWORTH MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION AND DEVELOPMENT
SHADOW MINISTER FOR VETERANS’ AFFAIRS
SHADOW MINISTER FOR DEFENCE PERSONNEL
MEMBER FOR KINGSTON
347,000 Australian children are facing a $440 million cut to preschool funding as a result of Scott Morrison’s cuts to preschool, with the program only funded for one more school year.
Unless this cut is reversed, every child now under the age of two will miss out on preschool funding in the year before school. This would be a disaster for Australian children and for our economy.
Scott Morrison’s cuts amount to the equivalent of $1,200 per child every year – a cut that will leave parents out of pocket or force states and community kindies to cut back hours.
In 2009, Federal Labor introduced Universal Access to Preschool for all four year olds, so Australian children could access 15 hours per week of quality preschool education in the year before school.
This was in recognition of the importance of early education – 90% of a child’s brain development occurs before they are five, and children who access preschool have been shown to achieve better school results in later years.
Unfortunately the Liberals continue to treat early education as a political football – leaving parents with uncertainty about whether they will be left out of pocket or whether their child will miss out.
Since the first agreement was signed by Labor in 2008, preschool enrolment has increased from 77% to up to 97% in some states.
However, this is all in jeopardy if Morrison doesn’t reverse his cuts and extend funding for preschool in his next Budget update – less than two months away.
When a student starts behind, they are unlikely to catch up – it’s likely they will not meet minimum NAPLAN standards in Years 3, 5 and 7.
For a country like Australia, this is just not good enough. By refusing to commit to ongoing funding for preschool, Mr Morrison is putting our children’s futures at risk.
He is also making it extremely difficult for providers to plan ahead and build a solid workforce.
This funding cut comes on the back of Morrison’s $14 billion cuts to public schools, his cuts to Universities and cuts to TAFE. These cuts show he just doesn’t understand the importance of education.
He’s spent years arguing for a tax cut for the banks, but Morrison is happy to leave funding for our youngest minds in jeopardy.
Labor will fight for early education and we will fight for better schools because unlike the Liberals, we know that education is an investment in a better future for our kids and our nation’s economy.
|STATE||NUMBER OF CHILDREN||FUNDING CUT PER YEAR|