Local Federal Member for Oxley Milton Dick MP today announced that a Shorten Labor Government will introduce a new two year National Preschool and Kindy Program – the biggest ever investment in early childhood education in Australia.
From 2021, every three year old in Oxley will be able to access 15 hours of subsidised early childhood education, so they can get the best start to learning.
Labor will also extend the current arrangement for four year olds accessing preschool programs – creating a quality, two-year program that boosts development in the most important years of a child’s development, an investment of an additional $1.75 billion into early education.
“We know that 90% of a child’s brain development occurs in the first five years of life which means an investment in early education is one of the smartest investments our country can make” said Mr Dick.
“Labor’s plan is good for our community, good for our children, good for parents, and good for the economy”.
Labor’s new National Preschool and Kindy Program will:
- Commit permanent preschool funding for all four year olds.
- Extend the program to cover all three year olds.
- Establish a $100 million facilitation fund for States and Territories to ensure successful implementation, including expanding capacity where it is required to accommodate the new cohort.
- Ensure early learning centres are high quality and safe by restoring the $20 million safety and quality funding the Liberals cut.
- Children -Studies have shown that children who access quality early education achieve better results in tests throughout their schooling. Early education is particularly vital in closing the disadvantage gap before a child starts school. Labor’s plan will see around 340,000 three year olds and a similar number of four year olds able to access preschool every year.
- Parents –One of the biggest barriers to accessing early education is finance – expanding access will help with the cost of living, help parents balance work and family and help reduce the child care bill for families with children already in early education.
- Economy –evidence shows that the return on investment in early childhood education is significant. A recent study form the EU showed that for every dollar spent on early childhood education for 3 year olds, $4 was returned to the economy.
Labor’s universal access to preschool scheme for four year olds has laid the groundwork for this announcement – since the first agreement was signed by Labor in 2008, preschool enrolment for four year olds has increased from 77% to between 93-97%.
“Our global competitors have recognised the value of a two-year early childhood education program, and it’s time Australia gets on board, before we fall further behind. The United Kingdom, New Zealand, France, Ireland and China have all expanded their early childhood education programs to include three year olds” said Mr Dick.
“The Morrison Government has failed to extend preschool funding for four year olds beyond next school year – after their child care changes cut early education from some of Australia’s most vulnerable children, including 2,759 preschool children in our community.
Labor will work in partnership with the states and territories to deliver this important reform, including in setting enrolment and attendance targets, particularly for Indigenous and vulnerable children.