A Shorten Labor Government will invest in giving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children the best start in life, by expanding vital early education services.
Supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families during the critical years of a child’s development - from birth to school – is vital to Closing the Gap in disadvantage between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians.
That is why a Shorten Labor Government will build on its investment in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children and Family Centres, providing $57 million to support the expansion of places and the delivery of a range of holistic services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families.
Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs Shayne Neumann said Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are the most vulnerable group of children in Australia, with substantial levels of disadvantage in infant health, school achievement and material wellbeing.
“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are still twice as likely to die before the age of five as non-Indigenous children, and there is a clear need to invest in quality holistic, integrated and culturally appropriate early years’ services,” Mr Neumann said.
“The previous Labor Government invested in place-based integrated early learning services through the Budget Based Funded Program and the creation of 38 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children and Family Centres.
“Disappointingly, the Liberal Government abandoned these centres and did not renew funding, leaving many of them to face an uncertain future under the disastrous Indigenous Advancement Strategy.
“Many centres have been left with significant funding shortfalls, resulting in the reduction of early years and family support services.”
Shadow Minister for Early Childhood, Kate Ellis said that investing in the critical early years is vital.
“Labor’s investment will mean more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children have access to critical early education and health services, putting them on the right track for success at school,” Ms Ellis said
“These Centres provide integrated education, health and family support in an accessible and culturally safe setting. Expanding the services will benefit children and their families – but also local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.”
Labor will provide $57 million to support the expansion of places, with funding to be made available to each of the 38 Children and Family Centres.
Labor will work with services and communities to identify the level of support required to achieve common objectives, including:
- Level of need and demand for services.
- Local priorities to enable tailored and community-responsive services.
- Remoteness of service delivery.
Labor will work in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander services, families and communities to build capacity, improve access and quality of services, and meet the individual needs of local communities.
Labor is investing in Indigenous-led services that deliver quality culturally competent services and invest in employment opportunities for the local community.
By ensuring the long term sustainability of these flexible, locally tailored services, we will ensure a healthier and happier future for generations of Aboriginal and Torres children.
THE HON SHAYNE NEUMANN MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS
SHADOW MINISTER FOR AGEING
SHADOW MINISTER FOR NORTHERN AUSTRALIA
MEMBER FOR BLAIR
THE HON KATE ELLIS MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD
MEMBER FOR ADELAIDE