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15 hours funding extended for another year: Birmingham

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(Source: AAP, SBS, 9 News and other media outlets)

Australia’s four-year-olds will be guaranteed affordable access to preschool for another year with the federal government extending its funding pledge. This pledge also covers three year olds who are eligible for equity funding.

The commonwealth and states jointly fund a guaranteed 15 hours a week of preschool for these groups.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham told the National Press Club in Canberra the program would continue in 2018 at a cost of $428 million to the federal budget.

The funding represented $1237 per child regardless of where they attend preschool.

“The 2018 extension of the national partnership agreement will provide certainty and consistency for Australian families, preschools and long day care centres as we implement our school and child care reforms next year,” Senator Birmingham said on Thursday.

“It will also allow for proper discussions with the states and territories on how we fairly guarantee at least 15 hours of preschool beyond that, given the very different models of preschool delivery that apply from one state to another.”

He said for one in two children attending preschool in long day care settings, the government’s childcare reforms would result in a subsidy of preschool costs on average of about $3900 a year.

Australian Education Union acting president Meredith Peace said the extension did not provide long-term investment and funding certainty.

“Every four year old must have access to at least 15 hours of preschool, now and in the future,” she told AAP.

“Preschools will breathe a short sigh of relief that their funding has not been cut for next year, but this funding must be made permanent and ongoing.”

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6 thoughts on “15 hours funding extended for another year: Birmingham

  1. I am not surprised at all, we have been down this road so many times. They extend and freeze until they come up with another plan, usually without true sector consultation. We live another day. Onwards and upwards as we campaign for 3 yr olds as well.

  2. Suggest a fact check?

    “Guaranteed free access to preschool”?

    NSW families would be jumping if this was the case.

    1. Thanks Lisa, we attributed this to the media outlets from which it came as we wanted to get it out to the sector as quickly as possible and the newsletter was ready to go! Hope you’ve subscribed. The article has since been corrected from the initial news share.

  3. A small part of me gave a sigh of relief but to be honest this lasted moments. I hope that I am still teaching at the time when early education is valued on par with primary and secondary. When we our services don’t hang in the balance waiting on decisions on funding that, at any time, could go either way.
    I agree with Ariane – onwards and upwards! Our children are worth the fight xxx

  4. Certainly a relief to know the funding is being extended for another 12 months- but it comes at a cost- to 3 year olds. What a shame that 3 year olds can’t be included in this.

  5. Happy to have this information now in 2017 so that we can plan our budget for 2018 with certainty that the funding will remain the same. I also would love to see early childhood education get the recognition and be valued in the community.

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