On National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day, SNAICC has welcomed the announcement of $120 million of new federal government investments to improve access to quality early childhood education.
An additional $81.8 million will expand the Connected Beginnings program in 27 new sites across the country, a program that aims to support the integration of early childhood education, health, development and family support programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
This major new investment is critical for supporting our young children and families. Under the new National Agreement on Closing the Gap, we have an opportunity to work differently to achieve the best outcomes for our kids,” said SNAICC CEO Catherine Liddle.
“We look forward to working alongside the Australian Government to ensure Connected Beginnings achieves strong outcomes through service delivery that are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-led.”
The Australian Government has also announced a $30 million expansion of the Community Child Care Fund Restricted Program to fund up to 20 additional child care services in remote communities, with the majority managed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations. This program provides much needed financial support for services that are not viable under Child Care Subsidy funding.
This is a great start to increase early childhood development supports delivered through our community-controlled Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander early years services,” said Ms Liddle.
Achieving the Closing the Gap target to increase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children on track against the Australian Early Development Census to 55% by 2031 will require a major shift in early education and development programs for our children.
While we are pleased to see government moving in the right direction, we know that the Child Care Subsidy funding model isn’t working for our services and families across the country, so we are still waiting to see more fundamental reforms that are needed to that system.”
The announcement by Minister Wyatt and Minister Tudge also included $9 million funding from the Commonwealth Government to replicate the Early Years Education Program in four sites. This program uses a multi-disciplinary approach that offers high quality early education and care, infant mental health and family support, and is delivered in in partnership with families and local community organisations.
Ms Liddle said, “We welcome the commitment of funding to the Early Years Education Program, but it must provide opportunities for our communities and organisations to lead and adapt the model so that it is grounded in our cultural strengths of nurturing children and supporting families.
This program has the potential to strengthen the already great work our Aboriginal community-controlled services are delivering, with a focus on intensive wraparound support that is vital for our children and families.”– Catherine Liddle, SNAICC CEO
Media release 4 August 2021 – SNAICC welcomes $120 million investment in early childhood programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children