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Research shows Labor's focus on early childhood education is good for our kids and good for the economy.

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Research Shows Labor's Focus On Early Childhood Education Is Good For Our Kids And Good For The Economy Media Statement - 31st August 2007

Federal Labor’s focus on early childhood education has been strongly supported by a leading expert on the economics of education as being both good for our kids and good for our economy.

Professor of Economics at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), Michael Keane, said the future capacity of children could be determined by as early as the age of five and that

early interventions like quality day-care and pre-schooling could help raise the educational outcomes of young children and greatly benefit their long-term future.

According to Professor Keane,

“The only sort of intervention that economists have found that seems to have a large impact on subsequent labour market outcomes are these kind of early childhood high-quality day-care interventions,"

and that

“It would seem logical for Government to focus more resources in that direction."

Parents know how critical the early years are for our children.

However, under the Howard Government, investment in early childhood education has collapsed, leaving Australia at the bottom of international comparisons:

z According to the OECD, Australia spends just 0.1 per cent of GDP on pre-primary education, compared to the OECD average of 0.5 per cent; and z More than one-third of four year olds do not receive any pre-primary

education at all.

That is why Federal Labor has put forward positive policy proposals to:

z Invest $450 million to give all four year olds an entitlement to 15 hours of

preschool or early learning each week, for a minimum of forty weeks per year, delivered by a qualified teacher. z Invest up to $34 million each year to provide 1,500 new university places in

Jenny Macklin

Stephen Smith


early childhood education; Halve the HECS debts for 10,000 early childhood graduates working in areas of need; Transfer responsibility for early childhood education and childcare into the Commonwealth Department of Education, with a new Office of Early Childhood Education; z Invest $16.9 million to support the rollout of the Australian Early Development

Index in every Australian primary school; and z Invest $32.5 million to roll out the Brotherhood of St. Lawrence Home

Interaction Program in 50 disadvantaged communities across Australia. The program will help parents prepare their children for school and will support up to 8,000 children at risk of falling behind.

Labor’s Early Childhood Education Plan is about giving our children the best possible start in life.

The Howard Government has given up on making sure that children in child care have access to high quality early learning programs and has ruled out matching Federal Labor’s promise to provide early learning for all four-year olds.

Federal Labor recognises the importance of early intervention in a child’s education and the need to intervene early to provide additional support and assistance for those children at risk of falling behind.

Authorised by Tim Gartrell, 161 London Circuit, Canberra City, ACT 2600

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