New campaign calls on Federal Government to guarantee preschool funding beyond 2017

1 February 2017

The Turnbull Government must ensure all children have access to quality preschool to prepare them for a life of learning, the AEU said today.

The AEU today launched its “Protect Our Preschools” campaign, calling on the Turnbull Government to guarantee long-term funding for four-year-old preschool beyond 2017.

AEU Federal President Correna Haythorpe said that all children deserved access to quality preschool to help prepare them for school.

“Children across Australia are benefiting from 15 hours per week of government-funded preschool, but that is under threat because the Federal Government won’t guarantee its share beyond the end of 2017,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“If we lose funding, some children will miss out on the preschool they need.

“Research shows quality preschool is the best preparation for a life of learning. It boosts readiness for school and lifts results in the long-term.

“Why would the Federal Government even consider cutting funding from programs that are delivering huge benefits to children?

“Every child deserves a head start on learning and access to 15 hours a week of preschool, taught by a university trained teacher.

AEU Victoria President Meredith Peace said that without guaranteed funding beyond 2017, early childhood education centres and their staff had no certainty, and no ability to plan for the future.

“Early education sets children up to succeed at school and beyond. This campaign gives parents a voice to tell the Turnbull Government that all children deserve 15 hours of preschool.

“We will be encouraging supporters to sign our petition, fill out postcards which will be delivered to politicians and spread the word about the threat to quality preschool.”

Ms Haythorpe said that 95% of four-year-olds were enrolled in a preschool program, thanks to the combined state and federal funding.

“That is a fantastic achievement and will set these children up for a life of learning,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“But we need certainty of funding to ensure that we can maintain and improve that, and extend government-funded preschool to three-year-olds.

“Australia already invests far less in early childhood education than the OECD average: our funding accounts for just 0.5% of GDP compared to the OECD average of 0.8%.

The Productivity Commission has found that: “Universal access to a preschool program in the year before children start school should continue to be supported by all governments as a key measure for child development and transition to school.”

“Education Minister Simon Birmingham has spoken repeatedly about the benefits of preschool, he needs to do more than talk, he needs to give preschools the funding certainty they need.

“The AEU, its members and supporters have already campaigned successfully on two occasions for preschool funding to be extended. But short-term extensions are not good enough, our children deserve guaranteed access to quality preschool.”

For more information on the campaign visit

Media Contact: Ben Ruse 0437 971 291