Sharon Bird today visited the Smith Street Children’s Centre as part of Early Learning Matters week, which runs from 5-12 August. This week is a great opportunity for highlighting the importance and benefits of early education for children.

Early Learning Matters Week highlights the important care and learning opportunities which our early educators provide, and why it is so important that all children access early education.

During the visit, Ms Bird talked with the staff about their role in educating our youngest children.

Ms Bird said that Labor has long understood the importance of early learning and the positive impact this can have on children’s development and education.

“When Labor was in government we had significant policies to support early childhood education including reducing the financial burden of child care on families, increasing the child care rebate from 30 to 50 per cent of out of pocket costs, and increasing the cap to $7,500. We invested $970 million to create the national universal access to preschool for four year olds program, and we introduced the National Quality Framework which has lifted standards and quality in early education.

This was because Labor knows that high quality learning and development experiences in the first five years of life are critical to children’s cognitive and non-cognitive development.

In stark contrast, the Turnbull Government has a shameful record on all levels of education, including in early education. This has included reduced access to subsidised education and care to some of our most vulnerable families with their unfair new activity test and funding cuts. They refuse to provide long term certainty to the national preschool program, and they have cut funding to the national safety and quality program.

The Turnbull Government’s own unfair child care package fails to value the importance of early childhood education, and treats early years learning as nothing but a babysitting service.

Unfortunately, the reality is as we highlight the importance of early education, there are one in four families who are now worse off under the Turnbull Government’s unfair child care changes.