Parents could decide Longman byelection
13,000 parents with children in early learning could prove crucial to the outcome of the Longman byelection with Queensland’s two largest not for profit early learning providers calling for major parties to commit to making early learning more accessible and affordable.
Goodstart Early Learning and the Creche and Kindergarten Association (C&K) operate 19 centres in Longman supporting 2800 of the 13,000 Longman parents who have children in early learning and care.
Goodstart CEO Julia Davison said the campaign called on both major parties to commit to giving all children access to early learning in the two years before they start school.
“The evidence is clear that children who have two years of early learning before they start school have a six month developmental advantage over those who don’t,” she said.
“With the start of the new Child Care Subsidy and Federal funding of kindergarten programs due to expire in 2019, support for early learning has never been more topical,” she said
C&K CEO Michael Tizard said the campaign was seeking three key commitments from the major parties ahead of the crucial July 28 byelection.
“First, we are calling on parties to commit to locking in long term, sustainable funding for kindergarten programs in the year before school.
“Since this funding started in 2010, we have seen significant improvements in children’s school readiness and a marked improvement in their learning outcomes. But funding runs out next year, which could increase the cost of kindergarten programs by $1200 a year.
“Second, we want a commitment that agreement will be reached between the Commonwealth and the States to extend kindergarten funding to the second year before school.
“Third, we are calling for a commitment to fix the activity test on the new Child Care Subsidy to give all children aged 3 to 5 years access to early learning in the two years before school,” he said.
Ms Davison said giving all children affordable access to two years of early learning in the years before school would help children better prepare for school.
“Most advanced countries already fund two years of early learning for all children and Australia has a lot of catching up to do. This issue is of crucial importance to thousands of families in Longman and could make a difference to the byelection outcome,” she said.
Goodstart and C&K have invited ALP, LNP, Greens and One Nation candidates to address a public forum on early learning at 6pm at the Caboolture RSL on Wednesday, July 18.
A petition supporting the campaign is being circulated across the 19 C&K and Goodstart centres in the electorate and can be accessed at http://www.thesmartstart.com.au/sign-petition-save-kindy/