Students’ futures at risk as Federal Government fails on ECE funding
The future for Australian students and employees in the early childhood education sector again remains uncertain with the federal government yet to confirm Universal Access funding past the end of this year.
IEUA-QNT Branch Secretary Terry Burke said Universal Access to early childhood education was crucial to the development of Australian children and maintaining current federal funding levels was critical to its continuation.
“The ability for every Australian child to access 15 hours per week of early childhood education is not only vital for their future but for the future of our nation as a whole.
“The importance of early childhood education as a driver for immediate and long-term economic development was recognised by the Productivity Commission in October 2014, yet for the last three years the Federal Government has provided no real commitment or certainty when it comes to funding.
“Instead the Federal Government has relied on a drip feed approach rather than investing in Australian students and funding our future.
“As it is Australia currently provides less than a quarter of the OECD average expenditure on early childhood education, when measured as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Mr Burke said IEUA-QNT members had launched the Fund Our Future campaign, calling on the Federal Government to provide certainty for early childhood education students, parents and employees by ensuring permanent funding for Universal Access.
“That funding needs to be ongoing and at a level which facilitates professional rates and conditions for employees of kindergartens and preschools in order to ensure a quality education for all students,” Mr Burke said.
The Fund Our Future campaign includes an online petition which IEUA-QNT and community members can sign and share calling on Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham to provide certainty of funding for early childhood education in the May budget and beyond.
“It is crucial that the Federal Government receive the clear message that its investment in early childhood education is not optional.
“It’s time for the Federal Government to provide certainty for the early childhood sector and to invest in our next generation of Australians – giving students the best possible start when it comes to learning and life.
“It’s time for the Federal Government to Fund Our Future,” Mr Burke said.