ECE funding welcomed but not enough for the regions

2 May | '2023

Angie Bell MP
Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education
Shadow Minister for Youth

Federal Member for Moncrieff

The Hon. Darren Chester MP
Shadow Minister for Regional Education
Shadow Minster for Regional Development
Shadow Minister for Local Government and Territories
Federal Member for Gippsland


ECE funding welcomed but not enough for the regions


01 May 2023

The Coalition welcomes today’s announcement of $18 million to address child care deserts across the country, however the Government needs to do more to increase access to early learning education in the regions.

More than nine million Australians live in a child care desert, which is described as one place for every three children. Australians living outside of major cities are more likely to be living in a child care desert.

The Albanese Government has set a ticking time bomb for regional, rural and remote families, many of whom will not be better off come 1 July.

Labor must ensure that state and local governments come to the table to help support communities in the regions access ECE. They must also ensure they have a plan to address workforce shortages in these communities, otherwise this money is meaningless.

Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education, Angie Bell MP, said this was much needed funding, but would not go far enough to address access issues in regional, rural and remote Australia.

“We’ve been calling on the Government to do more for the regions for almost 12 months, to increase access, address workforce shortages and ensure families living in Augusta can have the same access as families in Melbourne,” Ms Bell said.

“I’m concerned that this funding won’t go very far. Many communities I’ve met with require several millions of dollars to build one centre for local families.

“With 1 July rapidly approaching, families living in a child care desert will be left in the lurch, with no access to early education and no way to return to work.”

Shadow Minister for Regional Education, Darren Chester MP, said the announcement built on the existing program developed by the Coalition Government.

“It’s a positive step after a wasted year and it remains to be seen whether rural, regional and remote communities will benefit in a timely manner,” Mr Chester said.

“Increased building costs and workforce shortages are disproportionately impacting regional areas and this funding will not solve the problem.

“More than one million Australians live in regional and remote areas where childcare is non-existent and families need greater flexibility and choice in the future.”

After almost 12 months, it’s clear the Albanese Government still has no idea what they’re doing.

With early education costs rising 6.5 per cent in the last six months, Australian families deserve to know why they’re always worse off under Labor.


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