14 February 2014

In a week when the national Parliament noted the impressive progress towards Closing the Gap in access to early childhood education, concerns are increasing that the Abbott Government plans to abandon key reforms. 

The National Partnership for Indigenous Early Childhood Development expires at the end of this financial year and there is no clear indication the Abbott Government will negotiate a replacement agreement with the States. It was established under Labor and funds Indigenous Children and Family Centres; antenatal, sexual and reproductive health services; and maternal and child health programs.

"There are mixed reports about the Abbott Government's intentions to fund these vital services after the budget" Kate Ellis, Shadow Minister for Early Childhood said.

The 38 Indigenous Children and Family Centres provide practical and daily support to parents, as well as working in partnership with communities to provide high quality preschool in a trusted environment.

"The Children and Family Centres have seen improved access to early childhood education for Indigenous kids across the country" Kate Ellis said.

A report today claims Labor decided to end this National Partnership agreement. This is false.

"Labor never made such a decision and never intended to" Kate Ellis said.

"Tony Abbott must demonstrate his convictions by making sure a replacement agreement is negotiated with the States and fully funded in this year's federal budget."

"Every day, Children and Family Centres work with kids and their parents and make very real progress in closing the gap. They have become part of communities".

In this week's Closing the Gap report, the Government did not maintain a target of ensuring all Indigenous four year olds in remote communities have access to early childhood education.