Every Victorian child born under a re-elected Andrews Labor Government will start kindergarten a year earlier, with kids right across Western Victoria some of the first to benefit, as we give our children the very best start in life.
Premier Daniel Andrews today joined Minister for Early Childhood Education Jenny Mikakos and Member for Wendouree Sharon Knight at Wendouree Children’s Centre to mark this announcement, which is the largest social, economic and educational reform ever undertaken in early childhood learning in Victoria’s history.
Labor will invest almost $5 billion over the next decade to deliver a full 15 hours of three-year-old kinder, with the rollout beginning in 2020.
Our commitment is also good news for families struggling with the cost of living. Right now, many are forced to scrimp and save to cover the costs of three-year-old kinder – around $5000 a year for 15 hours – while the vast majority see their kids miss out.
Under Labor’s plan, every Victorian child will have access to at least five hours of subsidised three-year-old kinder by 2022, progressively scaled up to 15 hours per week over the next decade.
Local Government Areas across Western Victoria will be amongst the first to benefit, with Buloke, Hindmarsh, Northern Grampians, Yarriambiack, Ararat, Central Goldfields, Hepburn, Southern Grampians and West Wimmera councils all included in the initial rollout between 2020 and 2021.
While at Wendouree Children’s Centre, Premier Andrews also announced an immediate $350,000 to boost maternal and child health services, with the funding delivering a fully integrated family and children’s services facility.
This funding was made possible thanks to the Andrews Labor Government’s Children’s Facilities Capital Program. Part of our $43 million investment for kinder capital projects, it’s the single largest round of state investment in early childhood infrastructure in Victoria.
Wendouree Children’s Centre is one of more than 50 projects to be funded through the 2018-19 major grants round. This round of funding will also see almost 20 brand new early learning centres built to deliver more kinder places, alongside upgrades to 37 existing early childhood facilities.
Since November 2014, the Labor Government has invested a record $123.6 million to build, expand and improve early years infrastructure across Victoria to ensure local families can continue to access great local facilities.
As stated by Premier Daniel Andrews
“Parents in Western Victoria, just like every other parent across the state, worry about whether their child will be ready for school. With an extra year of kinder – and the opportunities it affords – we’ll make sure they are.”
As stated by Minister for Early Childhood Education Jenny Mikakos
“While the Federal Liberal Government refuses to meet its commitments on four-year-old kindergarten, Labor is determined to make sure our kids are ready for school and set for life.”
As stated by Member for Wendouree Sharon Knight
“The Wendouree Children’s Centre is a fantastic facility, and with this grant funding it will be able to do even more to support local kids and their families. With three-year-old kinder this centre will go from strength to strength.”