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Priority Review Staff Report on Pre-School Education Supports Opposition's Views



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RTHON. B.M.SNEDDEN Q.C., M.P.

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18 February, 1974-»

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Liberal Party views on pre-school education appear to be supported by the Priorities Review Staff Report,

Last month, in association xvLth the Liberal Spokesman, Senator Rae, I issued a statement setting down Liberal Party policy, and criticising the Labor Party's incoherent objective in this area.

It is clear that there is an increasing need for day-care centres which will accept children of all ages below six years and which will provide a 9-hour service as a minimum and have both an educational and care component.

To provide communal pre-school· centres for the majority of 4— year olds while failing to reach the needs of children below this age is not in accord with present day reality.

The Liberal Party believes that the Government's attitude of apparently ignoring the national association of p r i v a t e ^ run centres fails to recognise that the _ _

private sector already services a large number of communities especially in the outer suburbs. Their opinion in the area of pre-school education should be actively sought.

Parent involvement in the establishment and maintenance of child care centres is essential. The use of co-operatives with parents as directors would achieve . more child care facilities - at less cost - and encourage parent involvement in all aspects of child welfare and

education.

The Liberal Party will investigate standards and design of such centres in order to establish whether the child care centres of about 60 children with traditional standards is the optimal one.

The Liberal Party will consider an expanded in-service training programme to provide the practical experience necessary and to defray the cost of the scheme.

The Liberal Party believes that children of the less privileged, children of those who need to work for socio­ economic reasons and children of single parents of either sex should be subsidised.

The Liberal Party will investigate methods of providing capital assistance to all sections of the child care field whether by x-ray of grant or long term loan.

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The Liberal Party would ensure that programmes adopted are co-ordinated within each community and would encourage, where practical, sharing of resources by the private co-operative and public sector of the pre-sechool programme

in association with State Governments.

The involvement of the Liberal Party in community _

development would extend beyond investigating ways of broadening pre-school care and education.

There are other areas which the i.-fb^r-'.Government appears to have neglected. One of these is the need for after-school and holiday facilities for school children.

The Liberal Party will be examining policies which will enable it, when returned to Government, to provide a fully comprehensive community development programme in association with State Governments in the areas mentioned.