Early childhood education advocates welcome Federal Labor preschool plan

 Cowan MHR Anne Aly with Aaeesha (3) and Sarah (1).
Cowan MHR Anne Aly with Aaeesha (3) and Sarah (1).

EARLY education advocates have welcomed a Federal Opposition plan to subsidise education for three-year-olds, but the Prime Minister says it will mean higher taxes.

Labor announced this week that, if it was elected, three-year-olds would be able to access 15 hours of subsidised early childhood education from 2021 under a $1.75 billion, two-year National Preschool and Kindy Program.

The Mitchell Institute and Independent Education Union of Australia (IEUA) both welcomed the announcement.

Institute director Megan O’Connell said giving all children access to two years of quality preschool programs could support young people to meet critical education milestones and lift national productivity.

“Specially designed preschool programs for three and four year olds can give children the head-start they need to engage with learning when they’re at school and discover where they can excel,” she said.

IEUA president John Quessy said the benefits of early childhood education programs led by qualified teachers was compelling and proven.

“Access to quality early childhood education is a strong indicator of the child’s levels of achievement not only in school but later in life,” he said.

“For every dollar invested in early childhood education, four dollars are returned to the economy”.

Cowan MHR Anne Aly said investing in early education was a smart decision.

“Ninety per cent of a child’s brain development occurs in the first five years of life,” she said.

“When I was a single mum with two young boys, early education centres allowed me to work to put food on the table and study to create a better life for my kids.”

Marangaroo mother of two Renee Evans said it would make a huge difference to her family budget.

“One of the biggest problems our family faces in accessing early education is the cost,” she said.

“The price for early education has just gone up and up.

“This subsidy would do so much to reduce my child care bills and I know my girls would be getting a great education.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the program would mean Australians would pay higher taxes and lacked detail.

“We’ve invested billions more in child care, which has also mean more into early childhood education,” he said.