The Nationals Senator for Victoria Bridget McKenzie said the Commonwealth Government’s $840 million investment to extend Universal Access funding to enable 15 hours of preschool for every four-year-old child will ensure they are ready for lifelong learning.
Senator McKenzie, who has been a strong advocate for a funding extension to National Partnership Agreement on Universal Access to Early Childhood Education, said Australian families will continue to access up to 600 hours of preschool education thanks to the Coalition Government’s $840 million investment.
“Providing our young children with up to 600 hours of preschool education from a degree qualified early childhood educator in the year before school ensures they are ready for the challenges of school from the day they start,” Senator McKenzie said.
“It means our children will be prepared to tackle the challenges that lay ahead over the first few years of school and sets them up for life-long learning.
“This $840 million investment will be strongly welcomed by parents right across regional and rural Victoria, who understand the benefits early childhood education can deliver for their children.
“Once again, it shows this government is deeply committed to providing quality accessible education for our young people.”
Senator McKenzie congratulated the Minister for Education and Training Christopher Pyne for delivering this significant investment and going a step further by ensuring the new funding was indexed against the CPI.
“Indexing this funding against CPI will ensure an extra $30 million for this programme in 2016 and 2017,” Senator McKenzie said.
“This significant investment is in stark contrast to the former Labor Government which failed to provide funding certainty for the programme beyond 2014 despite having the opportunity to do so when in government.
“Making matters worse for Labor, a number of Labor MPs, both state and federal, have spent the past few weeks visiting kindergartens and falsely claiming that funding for this important programme was about to be cut.
“These misleading claims were done with the sole intention of scaring parents, children and early childhood educators.
“In my own community of Bendigo this shameful act was led by Lisa Chesters, Jacinta Allen and Maree Edwards, who I now call on to apologise to local kindergartens and parents for what can only be described as cheap political point scoring.”
Senator McKenzie said the Coalition Government was committed to supporting families and would make further positive announcements over the coming weeks.
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