Early learning emerges as an important voting issue ahead of SA election this weekend
The Sector > Policy > Politics > Early learning emerges as an important voting issue ahead of SA election this weekend

Early learning emerges as an important voting issue ahead of SA election this weekend

by Freya Lucas

March 18, 2022

As South Australians head to the polls this weekend the issue of early childhood education and care (ECEC) is emerging as a major decision maker for many voters, with both of the major parties making commitments in this space ahead of the election. 


The current Liberal government has contributed $50 million to infant health, welfare and early learning, while the Labor party has pledged a Royal Commission to look at childcare, preschool and after care.


More than 85 per cent of South Australians believe many families don’t send their children to early childhood education or care or limit how long they send them because of cost, with former South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill, now Director of advocacy campaign Thrive by Five, saying that ECEC is a key cost of living pressure for many families and will be top of mind as parents vote.


“Every child in South Australia should start school ready to learn and with the opportunity to reach their full potential, regardless of their postcode or the financial means of their parents,” Mr Weatherill said.


“As the former Premier of SA, I strived to support early learning and give children the best possible start in life. This remains a top priority for children, women, parents and early educators today.”


SA, he said, should look to follow the lead of the other states in terms of making significant movement on early learning reform. 


“The Victorian Government has moved to provide universal three and four year old preschool by the end of the decade. The Queensland Government recently announced an extra billion dollars of funding for four year preschool on the back of the Federal Coalition Government announcing a five- year funding agreement for four year old preschool,” he said.


“The NSW government has taken this a step further and said it would fully-fund childcare if the Commonwealth Government doesn’t do more.”


“Making high-quality early learning and care accessible and affordable for all Australian families is our best chance of giving children the right start in life, supporting greater workforce participation for women, easing pressure on household budgets and growing the economy.”


To learn more about Thrive by Five please see here.

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