Thursday, 24 May 2018
The Turnbull government’s lack of interest in early learning is well known but was reinforced in the budget and it demonstrated that this government don’t care about quality. They cut the National Quality Agenda for Early Childhood Education and Care. This was completely unexpected by the states and territories, completely unexpected by families and completely unexpected by the sector. The quality agenda is a success story. It requires all early learning centres to meet strict safety and quality standards, and to be assessed on their performance.
Since Labor established the quality agenda, the Commonwealth has provided funding to the states and territories, but no longer under this government. This sneaky government has torn up the agreement. Last week, I met with the Victorian early education minister, who told me that 50 monitoring and compliance staff in the department are now on the chopping block; in Queensland, 23 staff; and in the Northern Territory, six staff. These staff conduct and monitor compliance visits. They undertake assessments and ratings of service. They investigate offences. They make sure our children are safe and are learning. This is what parents want to know. They want to know that the centre they send their child to is safe, that it’s compliant, that their child is learning, and the actions of this government will mean that fewer parents will be able to be comfortable, fewer parents will be able to be secure and fewer parents will know. It is time that the government reversed this sneaky cut and made sure parents have the security that they depend on.