Four peak organisations for children and the community sector in Victoria have called on Education Minister Simon Birmingham to reverse the Government’s decision to end federal funding for the National Partnership Agreement on the National Quality Agenda.
Minister Birmingham announced that Federal funding for the National Quality Agenda will end in December 2018, in a move that was unexpected by any of the States and Territories.
In a joint letter to the Minister Early Learning Association Australia, Community Child Care Association, Early Childhood Australia (Vic Branch), and the Victorian Council of Social Services called on the Minister to reinstate and increase funding for the Agreement, and work with the States and Territories to develop a long-term commitment to the National Quality Agenda.
“It is essential that Australia builds on the progress made in relation to the provision of quality early and middle childhood education and services and not weaken the regulatory framework or the assessments and ratings processes,” said the organisations in the statement.
In an exclusive interview with The Framework in June, Shadow Early Education Minister Amanda Rishworth described the cuts as a “big shock” to the sector and to the State and Territory Governments. “My only conclusion is the Commonwealth does not see its role in the quality agenda. It does not see its role in actually striving for high quality early education.”
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.