Thursday, 29 March 2018

Families across Victoria and in Gippsland are being urged to join the fight to have the Turnbull Government do what’s right and finally sign up to long-term kindergarten funding.

Under the federal Liberals, Victorian families have borne the brunt of five successive short-term agreements to help fund 15 hours of kindergarten a week.

It means that beyond next year, families, kindergarten operators and their staff have no certainty that they will be able to access these 15 hours for our littlest Victorians.

Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Harriet Shing today urged Gippsland locals to put their name to a petition, calling on Malcolm Turnbull to commit to on-going, adequate and sustainable funding for four-year-old kinder.

In February, a report endorsed by all the states and territories called for continued investment in the early years.

The Lifting Our Game report noted that short term funding arrangements – like Turnbull’s on-again, off-again agreements – was hurting the industry by causing uncertainty and hampering future planning.

The report finds that investing in early childhood education pays off in the long run – with a return of $2 to $4 for every dollar invested. It also finds that while the benefits of investing in the early years are widely accepted internationally, Australia fails to invest early and pays for it later.

The report confirms Australia invests only a third of the OECD average in pre-primary education – ranking 24th out of 26 nations – and noting that the single most impactful reform Australia can take is expanding access to quality early childhood education, such as preschool, to all three-year-olds.

Gippsland locals keen to sign the petition can do so at thismatters.org.au/kindercuts.

Crucial work in the early years is already underway through the Andrews Labor Government’s unprecedented $202.1 million investment in the Education State Early Childhood Reform Plan.

It includes funding to introduce school readiness funding in kindergartens so that children who need more support will get it, an Australian first.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Early Childhood Education Jenny Mikakos

It’s time Malcolm Turnbull backs the report’s recommendations and locks in adequate and permanent funding for early childhood education.

“If Turnbull refuses – it not only hurts our kids, but it could also result in Victorian parents paying an extra $2,000 a year for alternative childcare arrangements.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Harriet Shing:

“Gippsland children deserve better, they deserve certainty.”

“Education in the early years is vital to setting kids up for the rest of the life – it beggars belief that the Federal Government thinks it’s only worth funding a year at a time.”