Federal Member for Throsby Stephen Jones today visited Noogaleek Childrens Centre in Berkeley to discuss the implications of the Abbott Governments review of the Budget Based Funding Program (BBF) for Indigenous early childhood education.
The overwhelming message I received from early childhood educators at Noogaleek is to make sure funding for Indigenous early education is not cut, said Jones.
The Government has pledged to halve the gap in literacy and numeracy levels between Indigenous students and non-Indigenous students within a decade.
To achieve this target, Indigenous children need equal access to quality early childhood education and care services, including pre-school, child care and family support services like those in the BBF Program at Noogaleek.
The services are community owned and driven, providing a direct entry point for early childhood educators to tackle poverty, disadvantage and disempowerment that many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience, said Jones.
Without these early childhood education opportunities, Indigenous children start their very first day of school socially and intellectually behind non-indigenous kids.
Im calling on the Abbott Government to re-commit funding to the BBF Program to ensure that Indigenous families in areas like the Illawarra have continued access to culturally appropriate early childhood education.
We need to all we can to break the cycle of disadvantage for Indigenous Australians and make sure our kids the very best start in life.