Thursday, 04 July 2019
The Morrison government likes to solemnly declare, when it comes to its unfunded tax cuts, that governments should be able to make decisions that aren’t just for one or two years into the future. Unfortunately, when it comes to preschool funding, that dedication to long-term budgeting is thrown in the trash. The Liberals have only funded preschools until the end of next year, and the clock is ticking.
The minister says it’s just not possible to fund preschools for longer, because, he claims, there are problems with data and attendance rates. In two matters of public importance, at least three media releases and multiple newspaper reports, the minister has justified the lack of funding certainty for preschools because this government wants to talk to the states and territories about attendance. This is a flimsy excuse for not properly funding preschools, but it does give the minister some cover. The problem is that the government is doing nothing to improve preschool data and attendance rates. Last week, at the education ministers council, the Commonwealth signed off on a new national partnership rollover of one year, with no changes to the parameters and performance indicators. That means that attendance is just not on the radar.
If it’s not about attendance, what is the lack of funding for preschools about? Is it about cutting the funding to preschools to fund an unfunded tax increase for high-income earners in 2025? The government must explain—