ACT Labor party calls for free early learning for every three year old ahead of election

ACT Labor party calls for free early learning for every three year old ahead of election

by Freya Lucas

September 22, 2020

Should that Labor party be successful in retaining Government at the next ACT election, every three-year-old child in Canberra will have access to one day a week of free early learning by the end of the next term of Government, a campaign statement released yesterday noted. 


ACT Labor affirmed its commitment to providing expanded access to early learning for families in the ACT, describing the three-year-old promise as being “a major step towards ACT Labor’s goal of providing 15 hours per week of free, quality early childhood education for three-year-old children.”


Well established research has shown that the period from birth through to eight years — especially the first three years — sets the foundation for every child’s social, physical, emotional and cognitive development,” the statement noted.


With 600 of the most vulnerable three-year-old children in the ACT currently accessing free, quality early childhood education, the party committed to continuing to work with the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector to deliver this service to all families with three year old children in the ACT. 


It is anticipated that by the end of the term, this commitment will require an investment of approximately $15 million a year from a re-elected ACT Labor Government, a commitment which would also require investment in the ECEC workforce, with the Government promising to support more people to gain degree level qualifications and to ensure educators have more access to professional development. 


“For many families, access to early learning for children means access to the workforce for parents. As we navigate the health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to remove barriers to workforce participation,” the statement noted. 


To review the statement in full, please see here. For local commentary on the issue, please see here.