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Transcript of doorstop interview at Fairy Hill Pre-school, Ivanhoe: 19 December 2006: Early childhood development.

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Jenny Macklin MP Shadow Minister for Families and Community Services Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs and Reconciliation Federal Member for JagaJaga

DOORSTOP INTERVIEW - Fairy Hill Pre-school, Ivanhoe 19 December 2006


Subject: Early childhood development

MACKLIN: What I know as a parent and what all parents know is how important it is to have high quality early childhood learning. All the international evidence shows that the younger you can start children learning the better. Whether it’s in a great kindergarten like this one, whether it’s in a child care centre, family day care, parenting groups, in all of these settings what Labor wants is the best early childhood learning that this country can have. It’ll be great for our children, it’ll be great for their learning in the early years, and it’ll be terrific for them at school.

We know there’s a very serious shortage of early childhood educators. Labor is proposing to pay the TAFE fees of childcare trainees, and we’re also going to look at encouraging more young people to do early childhood education at university. We need to get more early childhood education into our childcare centres, into our preschools, into family day care, and that way our children can really get the benefit of early childhood learning.

JOURNALIST: What is the main difference between your approach and the Howard Government’s then?

MACKLIN: The Howard Government hasn’t said anything about early childhood learning. What Labor wants is what all parents want. What Labor wants is to see the highest quality early childhood learning taking place in childcare centres, in preschools and kinders, in family day care services, in those parenting groups, the mothers groups that are available for parents who are looking after their children at home. Wherever our children are let’s make sure we get the highest quality early childhood learning and that way I’m sure our children will benefit enormously.

JOURNALIST: What would you say to the school of thought that’s out there that early childhood care is not good for kids under the age of 3?

MACKLIN: I think what we know is that parents really need to have a choice of excellent quality care, excellent early childhood learning, wherever [inaudible]. These settings are available for parents, parents need that choice. What Labor wants is to make sure that early childhood learning in all of those places is as good as we can make it.

JOURNALIST: As you know funding and costs are expensive, to have two parents working, the cost with that second parent working, many parents find it very hard. A lot of parents choose to not work and stay home and look after their child because they can’t afford the early development programs.

MACKLIN: I really understand how hard it is for parents to manage, particularly when they’re facing the very high costs of childcare. So Labor will not be doing anything that puts up the cost of childcare. We know how expensive it is already. I reckon every parent in the country would say it’s a good thing for any government to put extra money into early childhood learning. I certainly won’t be doing anything that loads that cost onto parents because parents are already paying enough.

JOURNALIST: The Howard Government has announced recently some funding for parents, I think 4 year old kinder?

MACKLIN: There’s an early childcare rebate but unfortunately many parents have having to wait up to two years to get this childcare rebate. Unfortunately the Howard Government hasn’t organised it very well, they’ve made people wait far too long to get this rebate. What Labor’s said is that we need to speed it up parents being able to get the rebate so that you’ve got the money in your pocket. Having to wait for two years is far too long.


More info: Nick Talbot 02 6277 4277 / 0408 473 278

19 December 2006