South Australia is facing a $27 million cut to preschool funding, as a result of the Abbott Government’s continued refusal to extend funding beyond this year.
For the second year in a row, the Abbott Government is playing politics with the 20,000 South Australian children who could be affected by a cut to preschool; leaving families, educators and centres facing more uncertainty.
Federal Shadow Minister for Education, Kate Ellis, said that the Government’s refusal to confirm preschool funding was irresponsible and threatened major progress in early childhood education.
“In 2009, federal Labor introduced the Universal Access program so as many children as possible across Australia could access 15 hours of quality preschool education in the year before school.
“As a result, preschool enrolments have climbed to 90.9 per cent nationally, with 82 per cent of children accessing 15 hours or more.
“With 90 per cent of brain development occurring in the first five years of a child’s life, early education is one of the smartest investments we can make,” Ms Ellis said.
South Australian Minister for Education and Child Development, Susan Close, said preschool hours would be cut next year without federal funding.
“If this federal funding is cut, preschool hours will be cut with it.”
“We have achieved a lot in South Australia, with almost 100 per cent of disadvantaged children now going to preschool, but this is now at risk.”
“'This comes on top of the Abbott Government's $335 million cut to South Australian schools,” Susan Close said.
FRIDAY, 28 FEBRUARY 2015