Janine Freeman MLALabor Member for Mirrabooka

Your local Labor MP

Early Childhood Education needs Government focus

Friday 02 Sep 2011

 

The 'Early Childhood Development in Western Australia: Capturing the Potential' report by consultant Brenton Wright was commissioned in May 2009, but Dr Constable admitted she had no plans to make it public.

 

"If thousands of dollars of public money is spent on an independent report then the public had a right to see it," local MLA, Janine Freeman said.

 

"The Minister spent $86,000 of taxpayers' money and won't show taxpayers what they got for their money.

 

"Aside from the importance of early childhood development, the Minister has abandoned any notion of accountability."

 

Shadow Minister for Education Ben Wyatt said early childhood development had been made a priority by the Premier last December when he promised to create 'parenting hubs' at schools.

 

"The Barnett Government is long on rhetoric but short on action and the cracks are showing," Mr Wyatt said.

 

"The Minister needs to release this report and get on with introducing legislation to make the changes to early childhood services in schools actually happen."

 

Mr Wyatt said the Minister also failed to take action on a 2009 Parliamentary Committee report that recommended the Education Minister extend the responsibilities of her Department to include learning for 0-3 year olds.

 

The report by the Legislative Assembly's Community Development and Justice Standing Committee, that was bipartisan in its findings, also recommended a whole-of-Government perspective on early childhood services under one Ministerial portfolio.

 

"The Minister will need to amend legislation to extend her responsibilities to include younger children," Mr Wyatt said.

 

"Early childhood development is supposed to be a key part of the Education Minister's portfolio and the Premier has claimed that early childhood development will be one of the State's most significant 'social dividends' of the resources boom.

 

"Yet this area remains without any comprehensive strategy or resourcing from the Barnett Government.

 

"The Premier promised we would see money in the last Budget for parenting hubs, then broke that promise."

 

"He made the Education Minister responsible for early learning and she has done nothing to put that into action.

 

"We need to see some action in this vital area of education and the Minister should start by releasing the Brenton Wright report then focus on implementing a whole of government early childhood strategy."