At the Education Council meeting of State and Federal Education Ministers today, I called on Federal Minister Simon Birmingham to commit to an education funding model, including 15 hours of kindergarten.
I have raised a number of times with the Federal Minister the importance of the Australian Government committing to longer term support for kindergarten funding, ensuring it is dealt with in the broader education funding agreement.
The current National Partnership arrangements for Kindergarten funding, which includes Tasmania funding 10 hours and the Commonwealth Government funding 5 hours, ends in 2017.
This gives no certainty as to how states continue to provide 15 hours of kindergarten for every Tasmanian child beyond this year.
This is unacceptable, as is any suggestion for continued short term National Partnership agreements.
We have an opportunity now, as we continue to negotiate longer term funding for education, to include universal access to 15 hours of kindergarten, to give states the certainty they need.
This is vitally important in Tasmania as we progress with our implementation planning to enable voluntary 6 month earlier access to Prep and Kindergarten.
We know the importance of early childhood education in setting children up for lifelong learning and in Tasmania we are focused on improving educational outcomes for every child through providing universal access, earlier.
Research shows that participating in quality early childhood education programs gives children, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, a head start.
This is why the Hodgman Liberal Government is committed to improvements in our system and we will continue to advocate strongly for certainty of this vital funding as an important component of an overall education funding model.