Constituency Questions: Kinders
Ros SPENCE (Yuroke) (12:41:41) — (14 805) My constituency question is to the Minister for Early Childhood Education, and I ask: how will the proposed cuts to kinder by the whomever-led federal Liberal government impact families in the Yuroke electorate? The Yuroke electorate is home to a significant number of young families, and access to kinder is an absolutely critical part of ensuring their children get the best possible start in life. Certainly many of these families find it quite astonishing that the federal Liberals refuse to guarantee funding certainty for kinder. There is simply no excuse for this sort of attack on early childhood education, and I thank the minister for her efforts to defend kinder.
Access to 15 hours per week of quality kindergarten in the year before school plays a vital role in establishing a strong foundation for lifelong learning, wellbeing and success.
The Andrews Labor Government has invested $202.1 million through the Education State Early Years Reform Plan to better support families and help children get ready for kindergarten, ready for school and ready for life.
While the National Partnership on Universal Access to Early Childhood Education has been renewed for another year, an ongoing commitment to funding 15 hours of four year old kindergarten needs to be a priority of the Commonwealth Government. Should this funding not continue beyond 2019, this could result in:
- a reduction in kindergarten hours
- increased parent fees
- a reduction in jobs for kindergarten teachers and educators
- impacts on the quality and viability of kindergarten services.
The Andrews Labor Government will continue to advocate strongly for a sustainable, long-term funding arrangement beyond 2019 to give kindergarten services the certainty needed to plan for the future.
There are approximately 64 services funded to deliver a kindergarten program in the City of Hume.
The Victorian Government provides a range of supports to kindergarten services and families in the Yuroke electorate to help ensure that all children can access a high quality kindergarten program. This includes the Kindergarten Fee Subsidy, Early Years Management funding, Kindergarten Inclusion Support for children with a disability or developmental delay and Preschool Field Officers.
The Andrews Labor is investing a record $123.6 million to build, expand and improve early years infrastructure across Victoria, including more than $10 million targeting growth areas including the Yuroke electorate. Through the Children’s Facilities Capital Program, grants have been approved for projects to improve and expand the capacity of kindergartens across the Yuroke electorate, including $1.6 million for the new Greenvale West Integrated Children’s Centre in the most recent 2017-18 major grant round.
In response to specific demand pressures, this Government is also providing $2.5million for three relocatable kindergartens in Roxburgh Park, Craigieburn and Kalkallo.
The Andrews Labor Government is committed to ensuring Victorian children have the best start at life and I thank you for your support in delivering this commitment.
Jenny Mikakos MP
Minister for Families and Children
Minister for Early Childhood Education
Minister for Youth Affairs