Thursday, 22 March 2018
I congratulate the new South Australian Minister for Education, John Gardner, on his appointment today. It is critically important the new minister gets straight to work and continues the excellent work Susan Close did to promote and deliver early education to South Australian children.
It is vital the new minister continue this commitment. Minister Gardner also needs to stands up for South Australian children and not let them be used as political hostages by the Federal Education Minister.
He needs to pick up the phone and call Simon Birmingham and demand the Federal Government make a long term commitment to funding the national four year old preschool program. Last month Minister Birmingham only gave our preschools a reprieve for 12 months of funding and there is no certainty for families or educators after next year.
Whilst Minister Birmingham made clumsy attempts to attack four year old preschool attendance, he used this as an excuse to crab walked away from his earlier support to fund three year old preschool for three-year olds.
However, this position is contrary to his new state counterpart who up until February had signalled his party’s support for early education for two years before school.
Simon Birmingham has also developed a habit of attacking the South Australian preschool and early education system, and Minister Gardner needs to tell Simon Birmingham to back off and focus on fixing his own issues, starting with his funding cuts to Catholic schools and universities.