Christopher Pyne has been left on his own in the Government’s failure to extending funding for universal access to preschool and kindergarten.

Liberal states have deserted Christopher Pyne and joined Labor’s fight for children to have access to 15 hours of quality preschool in the year before school. 

The shambolic state of funding for universal access was reiterated by Senate Estimates, where the Department failed to confirm that there will be any funding from next year. 

“Australian families, preschools and kindergartens are once again hanging in limbo by the Abbott Government’s failure to commit funding a program which gives every child an early learning kickstart before they commence schooling,” Shadow Minister for Education, Kate Ellis said today.

“Even Christopher Pyne’s Liberal colleagues are fighting back against his government’s approach, with Western Australia and Tasmania joining Victoria, South Australia, Queensland and the ACT in calling on the Abbott Government to commit to ongoing funding for next year and beyond.” 

Labor introduced the Universal Access program so children across Australia can access 15 hours of quality preschool education in the year before school, with preschool enrolments climbing to 90.9 per cent nationally since the program’s inception.

“Early education is one of the smartest investments we can make to boost Australia’s prospects – 90 per cent of brain development occurs in the first five years of a child’s life. The evidence is there – we know that attendance at pre-school has a significant positive impact on a student’s NAPLAN results.” 

“Last year the then Minister, Sussan Ley, would not commit to funding universal access until the Productivity Commission had completed the Review of Childcare and Early Childhood Learning. The review is now complete, and it has recommended the continued funding of the program, but the Government is still dragging the chain when it comes to giving certainty to families and communities. 

“The Abbott Government needs to come clean and tell families, preschools and kindergartens the truth about their failure to fund this essential program.”