The Education Minister Simon Birmingham has announced that Federal funding for the National Quality Agenda will end in December 2018.
The funding was part of a National Partnership Agreement with all states and territories to ensure that the National Quality Agenda first agreed to in 2009 could be properly rolled out and embedded.
The Government had previously extended the funding in 2015 to the end of 2018, at a cost of $51 million. As part of the Budget announcements made last week, it was made clear that the funding would not be extended.
In a statement, Minister Birmingham said only that ACECQA would continued to be funded until 2020 “following the completion of the partnership agreement with states and territories.”
It is not yet known what impact this will have on the sector, but the funding provided support for states and territories to undertake their roles as regulatory authorities under the National Quality Framework. The cut could see Assessment and Rating processes slow down, and compliance audits become less frequent.
Shadow Education Minister Amanda Rishworth described the funding cut as “cruel”, and that it would undermine the partnership model of the Agreement.
In a statement, Ms Rishworth said that: “Jobs and access to quality early learning services are now at risk, as the funding for inspections and audits of services is now gone. With no new money for preschools in the 2018-19 Budget the Turnbull Government, and the abolition of the quality agenda funding, the Liberals are demonstrating a total lack of commitment to early education.”
Victorian Education Minister Jenny Mikakos described the cut as “a shock”, and said that it would risk “letting unscrupulous operators back in the door”.
“Malcolm Turnbull’s about-face means thousands of Victorian early childhood services could go unchecked as early as 1 July, putting the safety of kids at risk,” said Ms Mikakos.