Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Governments failed election promise

Steve Maharey, on his last day of work last year put out a media release announcing the Governments early childhood policy funding rates. These rates were set, meaning they were not open to negotiation.And for all to see, here they are. These rates were announced as "set at a level that recognises all of the costs involved in providing quality early childhood education."

All of the costs? For up to 96,000 children?

If that is so,and it was "fully costed", why then is the Government considering an upward review of the rates just a month later? A month or so after the Government said 86,000 children will get 20- hours free and the funding will be adequate.After it said that no parent will have to pay a fee on top of the 20 hours free childcare.

Could it be that the Government is offering less than the minimal donation or fee currently being asked from parents, meaning that parents will be asked to pay a top-up by child care centres?

Paying a top up means that it is not free anymore.The Government campaigned on 20 hours free, yet has no process for monitoring the $140m spending, nor does it have any idea how it is going to deliver, particularly when there is nothing in the policy that would penalise child care centres that charge extra because the Government is not funding it properly.

Why isn't the Children's Commissioner and her mates at the Every Child Counts lobby group speaking out on this, when their key focus is to have the Government place children first in government planning? Could it be that the ECC spokesperson works for Barnardos and is a Labour lapdog, and every child doesnt actually count?

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