Peter Gutwein

Premier of Tasmania

12 June 2020

Jeremy Rockliff, Minister for Education and Training

Labor support welcomed for the Government’s ‘Working Together’ initiative

Given Labor’s long-standing and sustained opposition to universal access to free pre-school for three year olds, we welcome their belated support for the Working Together program.

The program is a Liberal Government initiative launched one year ago which provides up to 400 hours of free early learning for eligible three year olds who would not normally engage in early learning programs.

This nation-leading initiative which was co-designed with families, early years educators and community services, is an important part of our Plan for Education and has been specifically designed to support families to overcome a range of complex barriers that prevent young children from engaging in quality early learning.

There are 120 places available for eligible three year olds this year through 19 service providers. This ‘cap’ is due to recommendations made when the pilot program was independently reviewed by Clear Horizons, and is not linked to childcare availability.

Labor need to stop being lazy and read the report which recommends that it is important to continually reflect on learnings in order to refine and provide for continuous improvement.

That’s why the Government is taking a staged approach, to ensure we can continue the co-design process by learning and adapting as we go along.

We remain committed to continuing to roll out Working Together, and more places will be opened up every two years in a targeted way, with updated data sourced next year, to guide the selection process.

Alongside the 400 hours of free early learning, the program offers holistic support for families through wraparound services.

No matter the circumstances or background, all three year old children deserve the opportunity to experience early learning as research shows those who attend early learning perform better at school and in their lives.

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