11/05/2021 - 18:03

$317m top up for early childhood education

11/05/2021 - 18:03

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More than $300 million is set to be pumped into the early childhood education sector in the next financial year.

$317m top up for early childhood education
WA's early childhood education will receive $32.5 million in the year to June 2022. Photo: Aaron Burden

More than $300 million is set to be pumped into the early childhood education sector in the next financial year.

That figure, a significant decrease on the $450.6 million spent on these initiatives this financial year, is part of the $25 billion of assistance for state-based education programs outlined in the federal budget.

Western Australia will receive $32.5 million of funding for universal access to early childhood education in the year to June 2022.

According to the budget papers, funding is designed as a top-up arrangement and will support preschool enrolments for 15 hours per week.

Approximately $1.6 billion will be spent on the measure over the forward estimates with an ongoing commitment thereafter of $589 million per year, indexed to inflation.

Other measures aimed at education providers include $31 million for regulatory charging arrangements for international students, lowering charges applied by the Department of Education by $11 million over the forward estimates and lowering fees for small, higher-education providers by $8 million over the forward estimates.

In the near-term, $1.1 million will be spent in the year to June to create new employment pathways for students and financial incentives for PhDs aligned with industry priorities (backdated to June 2020).

The measure will be partially funded by redirecting $11.4 million over the forward estimates from the higher education support program.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg touted the investment in parliament this evening.

“We have already doubled school funding since we came to office,” he said.

“Our focus is on lifting student outcomes and better equipping teachers.

“[T]onight we also commit $2 billion to fund preschools, with reforms to improve participation.

“Preschool is a vital time in a child’s development and prepares them for the educational journey ahead.

“In this budget, we are also providing more than $19 billion in funding for our universities [in the year to June].

“And as a result of decisions made during the pandemic, this year there are 30,000 more places at Australian universities.”

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