WEDNESDAY, 29 JULY 2014
The Abbott Government has left Southside families in limbo by refusing to confirm Federal kindergarten funding for next year.
Shadow Minister for Early Childhood, Kate Ellis, and Member for Griffith, Terri Butler, visited the C&K Harty Street Kindergarten in Coorparoo today, which relies on Federal kindergarten funding to deliver high quality early education to local children.
The Abbott Government is refusing to guarantee Federal kindergarten funding for next year, which currently ensures four-year-olds can access 15 hours of education in the year before school.
“Without this Federal money, kindergarten hours will be slashed, fees will rise and services could be forced to close their doors,” Kate Ellis said.
“The Government is refusing to give local families certainty, despite the Productivity Commission last week warning the Federal Government against cuts to kindergarten funding.”
“Funding uncertainty is taking its toll on local families and services right now,” Terri Butler said.
“This has already dragged on for months and months – parents and their children deserve a lot better. Kindergartens don’t know if they can enrol new students, they can’t plan next year’s budget, and parents have no certainty about their work arrangements.”
Australian and international research has proven that children who attend kindergarten go on to score significantly better in Year Three NAPLAN tests and Year Four reading, maths and science.
“The early years are the most important in a child’s development,” Terri Butler said.
“Cutting kindergarten would cost our schools and taxpayers a lot more in the long run; because early intervention is proven to be the most effective way to make sure children achieve good life outcomes.”
In 2008, before Labor introduced Universal Access funding for preschool and kindergarten, just 12 per cent of Australian children received 15 hours or more of quality education in the year before school. In 2012 that figure had risen to over 56 per cent.
“Without this funding Tony Abbott looks set to return us to the situation we had under the Howard Government – where just 1 in 10 Australian children has access to 15 hours of preschool per week,” Kate Ellis said.