The Early Learning Association has recommended to the Federal Government that it maintain 15 hours of pre-school as part of the anticipated 'families package' that was announced by Prime Minister Tony Abbott last week.
The Prime Minister has said that the aim of the package is to reduce the cost of childcare for families and increasing the participation of women in the workforce.
Since 2013, Commonwealth Government funding has enabled the delivery of 15 hours of quality early learning to children in the year before school.
"This supports the improved educational, economic and social outcomes achieved by those children, as demonstrated by research," according to the CEO of the Early Learning Association, Shane Lucas.
“Commonwealth funding provides one-third of the money for 15 hours pre-school – and so provides families with a subsidised, affordable, quality early education and care option for their children.
“The availability of 15 hours of pre-school also helps parents participate more actively in the workforce prior to children commencing compulsory education."
Mr Lucas says the funding contribution towards 15 hours of pre-school "clearly" supports children, families and women and maintaining the funding is a "no-brainer".
The Early Learning Association has detailed its recommendation in its submission to the Federal Government for this year's Budget. Other recommendations include ongoing support of the National Quality Framework and a determination that no policy or funding initiative should leave disadvantaged or vulnerable children worse off.
The Government has also said it will consider the recommendations of a number of recent reviews into the early childhood education and care system - including an extensive study undertaken by the Productivity Commission – in developing the package.
“Our members put a lot of work into submissions to the Productivity Commission and these other reviews,” Mr Lucas said.
“The Government has had the Commission’s report since October, and we believe it is high time the report was publicly released – before the ‘families package’ is announced – so the community can adequately consider the Commission’s recommendations.”