Rishworth slams Budget as a failure for children
The Sector > Economics > Rishworth slams Budget as a failure for children

Rishworth slams Budget as a failure for children

by Freya Lucas

April 03, 2019

Politicians on both sides of the fence have shared their perspectives on last night’s 2019/20 Budget announcement, with vastly different perspectives.


Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education and Development, Amanda Rishworth, has labelled the Budget a “cruel insult”, whilst Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan has pointed to “another year of record funding.”


The Sector has produced a number of articles in relation to the Budget announcement, with the aim of supporting the early childhood education and care (ECEC) community to unpack the statements made on both sides ahead of what is widely speculated to be a May election.


Ms Rishworth described the Budget announcement as a missed opportunity to “properly invest in the future of Australia’s children” saying that by failing to secure funding for four year olds to access preschool beyond 2020 leaves “350,000 preschoolers in limbo” and “completely ignores” three year old funding.


She described the Budget as “a con for our pre-schoolers” describing the current Federal Government as one which has “stopped caring about the future of the early education for our children.”


Ms Rishworth pointed to the extensive funding promised by the Australian Labor Party (ALP), to support the continuation of Universal Access, and the expansion of the program to include three year olds as evidence of the ALPs belief in investing for the future of the country, starting with the early years.


Federal Minister for Education, Dan Tehan, said the Government were making a “record funding commitment” designed to ensure a sustainable future for Australian education. As part of the Budget, $1.4 million was pledged to The Smith Family, to support children from disadvantaged communities to attend preschool programs.


The funding has been allocated to The Smith Family to work with state and territory governments to develop strategies on how to further improve preschool participation rates, especially for families in regional and remote communities.


Mr Tehan said the Government “understood the importance of Australians receiving a quality education”, who used the statement to announce that the Government will conduct a national preschool review through the Education Council.


He highlighted the reforms brought to the ECEC sector through the introduction of the Child Care Subsidy (CCS) before outlining the key pledges made to the ECEC sector:


  • $449.5 million over two years from 2019-20 to extend the National Partnership on Universal Access to Early Childhood Education,


  • $4.9 million over two years from 2019-20 to improve the preschool data that is available nationally and to fund The Smith Family to work with state and territory governments and disadvantaged communities on strategies to improve preschool participation rates.


  • $4.0 million in 2019-20 for enhancements to the new Child Care Subsidy System (CCSS) and the Inclusion Support Portal.


Further information about the Budget announcement, and implications for the ECEC sector, can be found here, with the Budget in its entirety available to review here.

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