COAG Universal Funding review
A call to guarantee five years of Commonwealth funding for guaranteed access to preschool is overdue recognition of the critical role Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) has in providing equity of opportunity for all children to get the best start to their education.
Media reports reveal that the COAG commissioned review into the Universal Access Partnership has admonished the Morrison Government’s short term funding for preschools and called for funding to be locked in for five years.
The review reportedly found that short term renewals of preschool funding every year had “adversely” affected the strategy, creating uncertainty for the sector and resulting in high staff turnover and hindering preschools’ ability to plan and invest effectively.
IEUA NSW/ACT Branch Secretary Mark Northam said the union has always advocated for a better funding model that would provide the sector with financial viability and certainty.
“Now is the time for a rethink about the entire early childhood education and care sector at both state and federal levels, with a commitment to funding access to all children’s services,” Northam said.
“Universal Access funding has benefitted millions of children and their families, and increased the number of children accessing 15 hours of preschool education significantly, particularly in NSW.
“Five year funding contracts are much better for preschools. They provide certainty and predictability in funding for setting fees and employee wages, which assists in retaining qualified teachers and educators.
“This review shows once again that preschools, their staff, and the young children who attend, are only able to thrive when they have these critical ingredients.
“There are also a number of reports out now that support consistent funding in early childhood education and care on an economic basis, demonstrating that investment now gives great returns later.
“This review is a vindication of the long held position of the IEU that government must commit to consistent and accountable funding for the early childhood education and care sector. Without this, the findings of the review demonstrate the negative consequences that face children, families, preschools and their staff.
“This review is a positive step in the right direction, and we’re calling on the government to follow the guidance of the review and continue down the suggested path.