The Turnbull Government will provide $840 million to ensure that all Australian children have access to 15 hours of high-quality preschool education in the year before they start school, Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham announced today.

Senator Birmingham said the Turnbull Government had made a formal offer to state and territories to extend the National Partnership Agreement on Universal Access to Early Childhood Education in 2016 and 2017 and looked forward to their agreement.

“We know that preschool is critical in laying the foundations for future learning, including children’s school readiness and future school success,” Senator Birmingham said.

“The Turnbull Government is committed to ensuring that Australian children and families receive the appropriate support when and where they need it – particularly in the year before they start school.

“While states and territories are responsible for the delivery of preschool education, this $840 million commitment recognises the immense benefits a quality preschool education provides.”

Senator Birmingham said the Agreement set nationally-agreed benchmarks to drive performance and reward improvements including specific programmes for Indigenous, vulnerable and disadvantaged Australians.

“The extended agreement clearly set out agreed benchmarks to encourage and reward states and territories that demonstrate improved enrolments and access to preschool programmes that benefit Australian children,” Senator Birmingham said.

“This National Partnership Agreement also requires states and territories to support preschool programmes in long day care centres as well as dedicated government and community preschools.”

Senator Birmingham said the Commonwealth had been consulting and working with the states and territories since May to formalise this agreement.

The Commonwealth Government has written to states and territories with the $840 million offer. The Commonwealth now calls on the states and territories to sign up to the Agreement to provide certainty to families and services ahead of the 2016 school year.

This commitment brings the total Commonwealth investment through Universal Access since 2008 to $2.8 billion.

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Senator Birmingham’s media contact: James Murphy 0478 333 974
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