QLD 20/21 Budget released, broadens commitment to ECEC but falls short of VIC/NSW blockbusters

QLD 20/21 Budget released, broadens commitment to ECEC but falls short of VIC/NSW blockbusters

by Jason Roberts

December 01, 2020

The Queensland State Government has handed down their 2020/21 Budget, in which it has broadened its commitment to the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector to include funds to support the early years workforce as well as universal access to kindergarten for children in the year before school. 

 

The Queensland Budget, however,falls well short of the ‘blockbuster’ budgets released from both the Victorian and New South Wales Governments.

 

Queensland Minister for Education, Minister for Industrial Relations and Minister for Racing,Grace Grace, commented on the overall Education Budget in a media statement  briefly referencing the Remote Kindergarten Initiative in her remarks: 

 

“…Our Remote Kindy program will be expanded by providing $12 million over four years to include state schools more than 40km from the nearest kindergarten program provider,” she said. “This program provides children in rural and remote communities the opportunity to attend a kindy program in a face-to-face environment at selected state schools.”

 

This years Budget saw spending allocated to the following key programs:

 

  • Early years workforce and Universal Access – An additional $55.7 million over two years from 2020-21 has been allocated to support the early childhood workforce and universal access to kindergarten for children in the year before school. 
  • Early Years Places – $26.2 million in 2020-21 has been allocated to support the operation of Early Years Places in more than 50 locations across Queensland
  • Remote Kindergarten Program – $12 million has been allocated over four years from 2020-21 to expand the current Remote Kindergarten Program 
  • Early childhood education and care sector regulation – Last years commitment of $26.5 million over two years for regulation of the early childhood sector stands to drive continual improvement in the regulation of early childhood education and care
  • Pilot KindyLinQ – Continuing to pilot KindyLinQ, an early learning program for 3-year-old children and their families in 40 locations experiencing high levels of vulnerability.

 

This year’s commitment to support the early childhood workforce is likely to be well received, however a lack of detail in the budget papers means there is little information to make an informed judgement on the policy itself. 

 

The same conclusion can be drawn from the Government’s Turn to Teaching paid internship program which provides financial support and ‘real world’ teaching experience for trainee teachers to complete their teaching qualification while also guaranteeing a permanent teaching role at a state school. It is not clear if this extends to state ECEC settings. 

 

Elsewhere Queensland continues to lag behind Victoria, New South Wales and the ACT in the broadening of Universal Access funding to include three year olds as well as four year olds which are key components of policy initiatives in the southern states. 

 

For more information on the 2020-21 Queensland Budget please click here.

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