Four year olds in the Territory begin their learning journey this week as they start their first week in preschool.
This is a happy and exciting time for the 3,882 four year olds and their families in the Territory who will gain a lifetime of benefits from accessing quality early learning in preschools and long day care centres.
Unfortunately, this is the final year of funding for the national four year old preschool program. The Morrison Government, like the Abbott and Turnbull Governments before it, has refused to provide any funding certainty to the preschool program and has only committed to funding preschools in 2019. The Liberals want to cut the $440 million program. For the Territory, it means a $4.8 million funding cut in 2020.
The lack of funding certainty is leaving early educators, providers and families in limbo. They are unable to plan for the future, sign long term leases, lock in employment contracts, make budgets for 2020.
For the 3,478 three year olds in the Territory, they don’t know if they will have a preschool place next year. Preschools and long day care centres will have to deal with massive holes in their budget, which means higher fees, or cutting places. Families will have to choose between paying higher fees or keeping their kids at home.
Labor strongly believes in the benefits of early education.
Labor’s National Preschool and Kindy Program will see an $11 million investment for children in the Northern Territory and deliver two years of subsidised early learning.
In October last year, Labor announced our plans to extend preschool access to three year olds and commit to ongoing funding for four year old preschool.
This is the biggest ever investment in early education for children in the Northern Territory.
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.
Only Labor will give every child the early education opportunities they need for the best start in life.
WEDNESDAY, 30 JANUARY 2019