Parliament told kindy fund denial a disgrace

THE Bligh Government’s denial of kindy funding for bush kids and special needs children was condemned as “un-Australian” and a “disgrace” in State Parliament last week by the Member for Gregory and Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Western Queensland, Vaughan Johnson.

“When the government signed up to the National Partnership Agreement on Early Childhood Education last year, they agreed to provide universal access to kindergarten for all Queensland four-year-olds,” Mr Johnson told parliament.

“Instead, this government is denying access to those four-year-olds who need it most - bush children and children with special needs. Why? Because unless you fit their box, unless you can attend for a full 15 hours a week, 40 weeks a year, you don’t matter to them.

“While the government subsidises kindergarten fees, parents still pay a balance of the fee.

“Under the Bligh government, the parents of sick, disabled and bush children must pay fees for three days, even if they can only attend for one. The alternative is no kindy. This is un-Australian and a disgrace.”

Mr Johnson said that many children in Gregory lived a long way from the nearest town where a kindy was located.

“Distance means they can only attend for one day a week when Mum and Dad come to town. In the past, they have been able to share enrolments with other bush children or children who have special needs which also limit their capacity to attend full-time,” he said.

“They try to baffle you with jargon like ‘legacy funding’, but when you look behind the trick words, what they are saying is any new enrolments won’t be funded.

“The practical effect is that the parents of bush children and special needs children will be paying three times the rate of their fellow-parents, or these children will be denied the kindy experience they desperately need.”

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