COAG must address funding uncertainty around 15 hours of pre-school

17 April 2015

Today’s COAG meeting must address the future of pre-school funding in Australia and the Abbott Government’s refusal to guarantee funding for 15 hours per week from 2016, the AEU said today.

AEU Federal President Correna Haythorpe said that providing 15 hour per week of quality pre-schools was crucial for all children and State and Territory Governments needed to put pressure on Tony Abbott to provide funding.

“If we don’t get federal funding then States will have to cut pre-school hours, and children will miss out,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“We must not have a repeat of last year’s farcical delays which saw no confirmation of Federal Government pre-school funding for 2015 until September. This issue must be part of the COAG agenda.”

“States and Territories have already in indicated that hours will be cut if the Federal Government does not extend its share of funding into 2016 and beyond.

“The Abbott Government needs to guarantee funding for the long-term to ensure that all four-year olds can have 15 hours of pre-school each week from 2016, and be taught be university-trained teachers.

“Attending 15 hours a week of pre-school prepares children for learning and means they can make a more successful transition to primary school.

“Research shows that this is a crucial time in a child’s educational and social development and the investment in quality early childhood education will pay huge dividends for all of us in the future.

“Pre-school prepares children for school and gives them a head start on their education.

“If we reduce hours provided to children this will have significant effects on a child’s long term social and educational outcomes.”

“This issue needs to be resolved as soon as possible. Parents deserve certainty about what pre-school is available for their children, and children deserve the benefits quality pre-school can give them.”

“Today’s COAG meeting is the Abbott Government’s opportunity to set a clear direction on this issue and deliver certainty to the States around funding ahead of the May Budget.

Media Contact: Ben Ruse 0437 971 291