31 March 2014

In a display of misguided priorities the Abbott Government has all but confirmed it will walk away from supporting kindy and pre-school services in the upcoming Budget.

Despite committing to fund its $5.5 billion a year paid parental leave scheme for millionaires, the Government is refusing to guarantee that funding for early childhood education in the year before school will be continued.

$470 million a year is likely to be cut in the upcoming Budget following reports today that the Assistant Minister for Education, Sussan Ley, doesn't think it is a Federal responsibility.

"This shows the Abbott Government's twisted priorities as parents will be forced to look for alternatives, leading to much higher prices and longer waiting lists at child care centres."

"If states and territories lose the current $470 million a year in Federal funding, kindy and preschool services will be severely scaled back, and could close altogether," Shadow Minister for Education Kate Ellis said.

"Tony Abbott promised there would be no cuts to education, but he looks set to betray voters yet again."

Kate Ellis urged Tony Abbott to make this vital early childhood education a priority by stepping in and guaranteeing this funding.

"In early childhood education and care, we have seen one thing, and one thing only from this Government; cuts," Kate Ellis said.

The New South Wales Liberal Government has written to the Abbott Government urging funding for kindy and pre-school services to be continued.

"Premiers and Education Ministers right around the country know the early years are the most important in a child's education. It's time every state and territory stood up to Tony Abbott," Kate Ellis said.

"Parents just don't care about Tony Abbott's sneaky plan to shift responsibility, they just want access to quality kindy and pre-school so their children can get the best start."

Federal funding for kindy and pre-school makes sure Australian children have access to 15 hours per week of quality early childhood education in the year before school, and is targeted at Indigenous, vulnerable and disadvantaged children.