The Commonwealth and South Australian governments have signed a preschool funding agreement that will benefit about 80,000 South Australian children in the year before school over the next four years.
The Preschool Reform Agreement confirms up to $113 million of Commonwealth funding for preschool in South Australia from 2022 to 2025.
Acting Minister for Education and Youth Stuart Robert said the agreement will ensure South Australian children have access to high-quality preschool options and are better prepared for their first year of school.
‘This agreement will mean every child in South Australia has the opportunity to attend at least 15 hours of preschool a week in the year before they start school,’ Minister Robert said.
‘Importantly, this funding is linked to new reforms, including improving preschool participation and developing an outcomes measure, and will benefit all children, regardless of the type of preschool they attend.’
South Australian Minister for Education John Gardner said the Commonwealth’s contribution to South Australia’s provision of quality preschool will provide funding certainty to parents, educators and the sector.
‘The early years are so important to a child’s learning outcomes and future prospects,’ Minister Gardner said.
‘Every child deserves a world-class education and this agreement means all South Australian children will continue to have access to 600 hours of quality preschool in the year before they start school.
‘Securing the funding ensures we can continue to provide high-quality preschool and demonstrates our commitment to continuing to improve outcomes for our youngest citizens as they start out on their learning journey.
‘This agreement maintains Commonwealth funding to the sector and, importantly, will ensure all South Australian children and their families are supported during these significant years.’
Following ongoing discussions between the Commonwealth and South Australia over the past year, the Commonwealth Government has also committed to explore federal policy and legislative options to support the provision of wrap-around child care at preschool sites in South Australia, thereby better meeting the needs of working families.
The four-year Preschool Reform Agreement provides long-term certainty to more than 300,000 Australian children and their families each year, along with the early childhood education sector.
New South Wales and Victoria signed the Preschool Reform Agreement earlier this month.
The Commonwealth is continuing to work with the remaining states and territories to ensure they can have an agreement in place, and funding certainty, ahead of the 2022 preschool year.
The Commonwealth’s historic investment in early childhood education also includes around $10 billion a year through the child care system to reduce out-of-pocket expenses for families using child care and to improve workforce participation.