Member for Blair, Shayne Neumann MP, has announced that children in Ipswich, the Somerset Region and the Karana Downs region will have earlier access to community language schools under a Shorten Labor Government.
Labor will invest an extra $8 million so more Australian children get the chance to learn other languages.
Mr Neumann said community language schools currently teach mostly school-aged kids, but the younger a child starts learning another language, the easier it is to pick up.
“That’s why Labor will help more community language schools open up their classes to pre-schoolers as well as school-aged children.”
Grants of up to $25,000 per school will allow language programs to be expanded to preschool children. The grants could also go towards the costs of setting up a new school, better teacher training, or classroom resources.
Community language schools have been operating in Australia for more than 150 years. There are now about 700 community language schools across the country – including the Samoan School, run by the Samoan Congregational Church in Ipswich – teaching around 100,000 students in over 80 languages.
Community language schools are not-for-profit and operate outside mainstream school hours, often on a Saturday. They are open to all students regardless of their linguistic or cultural background.
Mr Neumann said the schools assist children of migrants retain the language and culture of their parents, grandparents and community members who may have learned English as a second language.
“The more Australians we have learning languages other than English, the better for our economy, and our society.
“Community language schools contribute to Australia’s standing as a successful multicultural nation. They help preserve and celebrate cultures and traditions and promote diversity, inclusion, and respect,” Mr Neumann said.