Federal Labor has today demanded the Abbott Government end the uncertainty and guarantee Federal funding of preschool and kindergarten for next year.


With the Education Council, made up of all State, Territory and Federal Education Ministers, meeting this morning, Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Kate Ellis said today is the absolute deadline for this funding to be guaranteed.


“The meeting is today. Deadline’s up. Tony Abbott needs to make a decision,” Kate Ellis said.


“The uncertainty of funding means preschool providers can’t hire teachers, set fees or guarantee enough hours, leaving parents’ work commitments up in the air.”


State governments have previously admitted that without the Federal funding, available hours will be reduced, fees will rise and some centres may close. This will leave parents struggling to find back-up child care places and in some cases see parents forced to cut back their work commitments.


“Today is the day for all Ministers to truly stand up for the families in their states and demand ongoing Federal funding for preschool and kindergarten,” Kate Ellis said.


“It is simply ludicrous that despite the New Year being just a few months away, the Abbott Government is still yet to commit a single cent to the ongoing funding of preschools and kindergartens from the beginning of next year.”


Despite promising no cuts to education, the Abbott Government to date has announced $1 billion in cuts to early childhood education.


“Tony Abbott should not add preschool and kindergarten cuts to the list – today is the day to help families, not continue to watch them struggle,” Kate Ellis said.


Federal Labor invested $970 million over five years in universal access then topped it up with an additional $660 million in the 2013-14 Budget to make sure states and territories were reaching the target of 15 hours per week, especially reaching out to disadvantaged children so they can get the early education they need.