House debates

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Statements by Members

Early Childhood Learning

1:45 pm

Photo of Ged KearneyGed Kearney (Batman, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Last week was Early Learning Matters Week, and I was horrified that the Turnbull government chose that week to confirm it is refusing to commit to funding the national kindergarten program. It's clear that they intend to walk away from 350 kinder kids who rely on this program and cut $440 million from the sector, a year after the next election is due. Of all the cuts the Liberals have made over the last five years, surely this is one of the worst and the most cynical. This is on top of the damaging childcare subsidy changes, which affect those who can least afford it.

The Turnbull government simply do not get how important early childhood learning is. We on this side of the House get it, and I especially do. My twin girls actually failed kindergarten! It was their early childhood educator who identified that they weren't ready to go on to school and would benefit greatly from another year at kinder. I'm eternally grateful for that early childhood educator, and I hate to think what might have been. Despite the fact that my girls get teased mercilessly about this, they went on to do very well at school. My kids went to kinder in our local area—Clyde Street kinder, actually—and it gave them social and education skills to get them school-ready. All kids deserve this opportunity, especially disadvantaged kids, as early education means that their future holds more opportunities and choices. The government must do better. I want to thank all the amazing early childhood educators in our community and say that yes, early learning matters. (Time expired)