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Wednesday, 8 February 2017
Page: 270

Mr BROAD (Mallee) (13:34): Today I have written to the Minister for Education and Training, Simon Birmingham, to outline my support for government funding of 15 hours of early childhood education. There is something I have to commend former Prime Minister Gillard for, which is implementing Commonwealth funding for five hours—matching the states' 10 hours—of early childhood funding. The government that I am a part of continued that, and it has been very successful across the electorate of Mallee. The nine local government areas in the electorate of Mallee have built facilities, but their facilities only remain viable when funded for 15 hours.

I represent an area that has some of the lowest socio-economic classes and some of the challenges that go with that. One thing we can do to invest in children's education is to ensure that children have that little bit of extra time in kindergarten. I have seen this myself with my own foster daughter, and I have to say that those 15 hours are very worthwhile. I have outlined that this is something the government should fund for 2018. I hope and trust that the minister will give my letter the consideration it deserves: I know that there is a strong place in his heart for early childhood studies and I look forward to a positive result for funding in 2018.