Early learning is on the ballot in Saturday’s South Australian election
18 March 2022 – Early learning has emerged as an important issue in the upcoming South Australian election, with commitments from both major parties ahead of the weekend polls.
South Australia already has a system of children’s centres co-located with primary schools thanks to the current Liberal Government’s $50 million contribution to infant health, welfare and early learning.
In this state election, the SA Labor party has pledged a Royal Commission into early childhood education and care to look at childcare, preschool and after care.
Thrive by Five welcomes this pledge and notes the Labor Party says it wants to achieve universal three and four year old preschool by 2026.
More than 85 per cent of South Australians believe many families don’t send their children to early childhood education or care or limit how long they send them because of cost.
“Every child in South Australia should start school ready to learn and with the opportunity to reach their full potential, regardless of their postcode or the financial means of their parents,” Thrive by Five Director Jay Weatherill said.
“As the former Premier of SA, I strived to support early learning and give children the best possible start in life. This remains a top priority for children, women, parents and early educators today.
“However early childhood education and care is a key cost of living pressure for too many South Australian families and will be top of mind as parents head to the polls this weekend.
“We have seen recent, significant movement on early learning reform in other Australian states/South Australia should follow this lead.
“The Victorian Government has moved to provide universal three and four-year old preschool by the end of the decade. The Queensland Government recently announced an extra billion dollars of funding for four-year preschool on the back of the Federal Coalition Government announcing a five-year funding agreement for four-year old preschool.
“The NSW government has taken this a step further and said it would fully-fund childcare if the Commonwealth Government doesn’t do more.
“Making high-quality early learning and care accessible and affordable for all Australian families is our best chance of giving children the right start in life, supporting greater workforce participation for women, easing pressure on household budgets and growing the economy.
“Early Childhood Education and Care are now at the centre of reform efforts around the country and this issue is on the ballot in the South Australian election.”