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Early Childhood Education funding at record $1.4 billion


Anne Tolley                                                31 January, 2011

Early Childhood Education funding at record $1.4 billion

Education Minister Anne Tolley says the Government?s investment in early childhood education (ECE) in the coming year will be $100 million above the original Budget 2010 allocation, bringing the total spend to $1.4 billion.

?This is the most ever spent by any Government on early childhood education, reflecting the importance we place on the future of our young children,? says Mrs Tolley.

?This funding represents a valuable investment as we deliver on our commitment to high-quality early childhood education.

"But we need to ensure it is in proportion to other education spending and that it reaches those children who benefit most from ECE.

?We are now at the stage where the taxpayer is subsidising ECE centres at an average of $7600 per child per year.

?This compares to an average of $5528 for a primary school student, and $6733 for a student at secondary school.

?The average taxpayer-subsidised payment to ECE centres is almost $270,000 a year, while kindergartens receive $325,000, and this is money on top of what these independent ECE centres ask parents to pay.

?It makes no sense that ECE funding has trebled over the last five years, while the number of children starting school with some form of ECE has increased by only around one per cent.

"We are bringing spending under control, while targeting funding at the children who need it the most.

?It is not good enough that in some areas of the country up to 40 per cent of children are missing out on ECE.

?The Labour Party, whose mismanagement is the source of this ECE blow-out, has said it will reverse this Government?s sound financial decisions ? but over a number of budgets because of the cost involved. As always, there is no explanation of where the money will come from.

?This is yet another promise which Labour knows it cannot fulfil or pay for, and is the first time it has admitted liability for the huge financial black hole it has left in the education budget.? 2012