What our guests had to say:
Via his statement, Acting Minister for Education and Youth, the Honourable Stuart Robert reflected on what the Morrison government has delivered to improve access and inclusion, quality, and affordability, and ongoing preschool funding through the Preschool Reform Agreement. He also highlighted the prioritisation of funding for the early years through Closing the Gap, and how the government has expanded access to the Community Child Care Fund.
He committed to boosting the number of educators in the workforce through the $2 billion Job Trainer program and $2.4 billion Apprenticeship Incentive Scheme, with early education professionals to be put on the priority list, and to reduce childcare costs to middle and low-income earners for their second and third children.
Shadow Minister Amanda Rishworth and Senator Marheen Faruqi highlighted the vital role played by the sector during COVID-19, and how education and care are now being viewed as essential.
In addition to committing to initiating real change and affirming children's right to quality early education, both speakers committed to supporting measures designed to support women to remain in the workforce.
Amanda Rishworth spoke specifically about making education and care more affordable for families, and introducing mechanisms to ensure government funding is directed to families, children, and quality. She spoke passionately about the need for an early years strategy to provide holistic support to children and families.
Mehreen Faruqi highligthed the need for a radical shift to ensure all families have access to 24 hours of free education per week, and a commitment to the community and not-for-profit sector. She strongly supported the need to pay educators appropriately.