Federal Budget ignores early education

The future of Hume’s early education has been left in the balance after the Australian Government announced it would fund its allocation of preschool hours for the next 12 months only.

Hume Mayor, Councillor Drew Jessop, said the Australian Government’s short-term contribution reflected a lack of commitment and left families in uncertainty.

“The Australian Government provides a subsidy for five out of the current 15 hours of preschool per week under the National Partnership Agreement on Universal Access to Early Childhood Education,” Cr Jessop said.

“By only providing funds for 12 months, rather than making a long term commitment, the Australian Government leaves young families exposed.

“Without Australian Government funding, Hume City Council will face a shortfall of at least $1.7 million per year and in the event this gap is passed on to families, they could be asked to pay an extra $1000 each year for a place at kinder.”

Councillor Jessop said there was sufficient evidence which confirmed 15 hours of preschool helped children achieve better school results in the future.

“Preschool is particularly important in Hume where many families come from disadvantaged backgrounds, and for some children, it’s where they first learn how to speak English, and socialise with other children,” Cr Jessop said.

“Studies have shown that providing 15 hours of preschool education gives children the best possible chance to succeed later in life.

“While Council appreciates the Australian Government’s funding for the next 12 months, a longer term commitment is required to provide families with the certainty that they need for the future of their children’s education.

“The Victorian Government and Hume City Council have made a long term commitment to fund our preschools, so now is the time for the Australian Government to step up and help permanently establish universal access for future generations.

“Parents can let the Australian Government know that they do not accept any future cuts by signing our petition that supports 15 hours per week of universal access to preschool.”

Hume residents can call on the major parties to support an Australian Government fund for preschool beyond 2017 by visiting Council's Advocacy page or by contacting your local Federal Member directly.

Posted on 9:00 AM, 11 May 2017

Updated : 9:50 AM, 11 May 2017

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