A Labor Government will introduce a new two year National Preschool and Kindy Program – the biggest ever investment in early childhood education in Australia.

Under Labor,  approximately 4,000 children in the Port, Kempsey, Coffs and on the Mid-North Coast will have greater access to early education, giving them the best possible start to their education.

From 2021, every three-year-old in the federal seat of Cowper will be able to access 15 hours of subsidised early childhood education so they can get the best start to learning.

In the electorate of Cowper alone, this is greater access to early education for more than 1,700 three-year-old children.

Labor will also extend the current arrangement for four-year-olds accessing preschool programs – creating a quality, two-year program that boosts development in the most important years of a child’s development, an investment of an additional $1.75 billion into early education

90% of a child’s brain development occurs in the first five years of life – an investment in early education is one of the smartest investments our country can make.

Labor’s plan is good for Port, Coffs, Kempsey and the Mid-North Coast children, good for parents, and good for the economy: 

  • Children –Studies have shown that children who access quality early education achieve better results in tests throughout their schooling. Early education is particularly vital in closing the disadvantage gap before a child starts school. Labor’s plan will see around 340,000 three-year-olds and a similar number of four-year-olds able to access preschool every year.
  • Parents –One of the biggest barriers to accessing early education is finance – expanding access will help with the cost of living, help parents balance work and family and help reduce the childcare bill for families with children already in early education.
  • Economy –evidence shows that the return on investment in early childhood education is significant. A recent study from the EU showed that for every dollar spent on early childhood education for 3-year-olds, $4 was returned to the economy.

Labor’s universal access to preschool scheme for four-year-olds has laid the groundwork for this announcement – since the first agreement was signed by Labor in 2008, preschool enrolment for four-year-olds has increased from 77% to between 93-97%.

But more needs to be done. Our global competitors have recognised the value of a two-year early childhood education program, and it’s time Australia gets on board before we fall further behind. The United Kingdom, New Zealand, France, Ireland and China have all expanded their early childhood education programs to include three-year-olds.

Currently, Scott Morrison has failed to extend preschool funding for four-year-olds beyond next school year – after his childcare changes cut early education from some of Australia’s most vulnerable children, including close to 2,300 preschool children in Cowper electorate.

The Liberals and Nationals see education as a cost – that’s why they’ve cut $14 billion from public schools and left preschool funding in limbo. Labor sees it as an investment in our collective future.

Labor will work in partnership with the states and territories to deliver this important reform, including in setting enrolment and attendance targets, particularly for Indigenous and vulnerable children.

We’ve made tough and overdue decisions to rein in unfair tax concessions that predominantly benefit the wealthy – including negative gearing reform and dividend imputation reform – so we can fund the priorities that will make a fairer and more successful nation.