Time For Turnbull To Pull His Weight On Early Childhood

A new report, endorsed by all the states and territories, has called on the Turnbull Government to finally provide adequate and permanent funding to help educate our youngest kids.

Lifting Our Game, released today, is the final report of a national education review on early childhood services – and backs continued investment in the early years to ensure Australian kids do better at school and later in life.

It highlights that short term funding arrangements – like Turnbull’s on-again, off-again agreements to help fund 15 kindergarten hours for Victorian kids – was hurting the industry by causing uncertainty and hampering future planning.

Victorian families have borne the brunt of five successive short-term agreements from the Commonwealth to fund extra hours, with the current federal funding ending in 2018.

Minister for Early Childhood Education Jenny Mikakos joined other states and territories to call on the Turnbull Government to commit to ongoing, adequate and sustainable funding for early childhood education.

The report finds that investing in early childhood education pays off in the long run – with a return of $2 to $4 for every dollar invested. It also finds that while the benefits of investing in the early years are widely accepted internationally, Australia fails to invest early and pays for it later.

The report confirms Australia invests only a third of the OECD average in pre-primary education – ranking 24th out of 26 nations – and noting that the single most impactful reform Australia can take is expanding access to quality early childhood education, such as preschool, to all three-year-olds.

Crucial work in the early years is already underway through the Labor Government’s unprecedented $202.1 million investment in the Education State Early Childhood Reform Plan.

It includes funding to introduce school readiness in kindergartens so that children who need more support will get it, an Australian first.

The independent review – Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools through Early Childhood Interventions – was commissioned by state and territory governments, and will complement the Gonski Review into education. It can be found at education.vic.gov.au/about.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos

“This report confirms what we’ve known for a long time – that investing in the early years is the greatest public return on education investment we can make.”

“It’s time Malcolm Turnbull backs the report’s recommendations and locks in adequate and permanent funding for early childhood education.”

“If Turnbull refuses – it not only hurts our kids, but it could also result in Victorian parents paying an extra $2000 a year for alternative childcare arrangements.”