The Liberal Government needs to recommit to funding universal access to preschool and end the uncertainty plaguing the early childhood sector following Scott Morrison’s failure to do so in Question Time today.

Without this funding, preschools and kindergartens will be faced with a choice – do they increase the fees they charge parents or decrease the hours they offer to children. 

“Last year the Abbott Government had to be dragged kicking and screaming to extend preschool and kindergarten funding - and did so for only 12 months – leaving families, educators and centres scrambling to make arrangements at the last minute,” Shadow Minister for Early Childhood, Kate Ellis said. 

It was Labor who first reached agreement with all state and territory governments to establish universal access to 15 hours of preschool or kindergarten in the year before school. 

“Since the Universal Access program was established in 2009, preschool enrolments have climbed from 69.5 per cent nationally to 90.9 per cent of children enrolled in the year before they go to school,” Ms Ellis said. 

Scott Morrison’s suggestion in Question Time today that Labor didn’t support further investment in Universal Access to preschool and kindergarten is completely false.

“Labor is proud of our history of investing in early childhood – it was Labor who established universal access to preschool, it was Labor who oversaw the massive increase in attendance and increased educational outcomes for children and it is Labor who continues to call on the Government to stop dragging their heels and commit to funding a program which is integral to the future of our children,” Ms Ellis said. 

“The Government is looking to pass the buck rather than own their poor Budget priorities. Instead of funding universal preschool access so that every child has the opportunity for the best start to life, they are giving multinational corporations $1.1 billion by re-opening tax loopholes Labor closed. 

“Our support has not wavered. It’s time the Government showed the same support, and recommitted to this integral funding.”