Belated announcement brings temporary relief to Early Childhood Education sector
The announcement at the start of the week that the Federal Government would extend funding for 15 hours per week of early childhood education in 2016 and 2017 has provided temporary relief to the Early Childhood Education sector.
Terry Burke, Branch Secretary, said workers and parents had good reason to be dismayed that a simple decision took so long to make and resulted in no benefit to the sector other than maintaining the current status-quo.
“It is almost a year since the federal government neglected to make provision in last year’s budget to fund early childhood education in Australia.
‘Excuse followed excuse as the government deferred committing to guaranteeing forward funding on the pretext of waiting for a Productivity Commission report into Childcare and Early Childhood Education,” he said.
“In the end all that was achieved was an extension to the funding arrangements.”
High hopes were pinned to the Productivity Commission report which was handed to the government in October last year. The importance of early childhood education as a driver for immediate and long term economic development was recognised and expenditure was identified as cost neutral to the government.
Our union ran a campaign targeting Social Services Minister, Scott Morrison, pointing out that Australia provides less than a quarter of the OECD average expenditure on early childhood education when measured as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Despite claiming to have its eye on the future with the Intergenerational Report, the government has passed on an opportunity to make an investment in our children.
“Other than paying lip service to the importance of Early Childhood Education as a long term driver for economic advancement and individual achievement – the government has failed to deliver on the Productivity Commission’s recommendations – acting only to ease immediate concerns about funding,” Mr Burke said.