Apr 13, 2015

Labor launches 15 Hour Best Start campaign to secure the future of preschool in the inner west

Today Labor is launching the 15 Hour Best Start campaign in the inner west calling on the Government to fund preschools in their upcoming Budget.

Currently, the Abbott Government is refusing to fund local kindergarten and preschool services from next year.

If Tony Abbott doesn’t ensure ongoing federal funding, preschools in the inner west will be left with no choice but to increase the fees they charge parents or decrease the hours they offer to children.

Children deserve better than the Coalition’s funding games, with $518 million in federal funding at risk over the next four years in NSW alone.

Recently I visited the SDN Marrickville Children’s Education and Care Centre with Kate Ellis, the Shadow Minister for Education and Shadow Minister for Early Childhood.

We saw firsthand what a great job our local preschools do when it comes to taking care of our children and ensuring they have the best transition to school possible.

Since Labor introduced federal funding for kindergartens and preschools in 2009, enrolments have climbed from 69.5 per cent nationally in 2008 to 90.9 per cent in 2013. On top of this, the proportion of children receiving 15 hours per week or more of kindergarten or preschool has increased dramatically over the same period from 23 per cent to 82 per cent.

In NSW the proportion of children attending preschool who are enrolled in a program for more than 15 hours a week has increased from just 29 per cent in 2008, to 59 per cent in 2013.

This has proven to be a successful program and Tony Abbott should commit to its funding.

Inner west residents are encouraged to sign a petition to support the 15 Hours Best Start campaign at http://www.15hourbeststart.org.au/