KINDER FOR EVERY THREE-YEAR-OLD IN FOOTSCRAY

Every Victorian child born under a re-elected Andrews Labor Government will start kindergarten a year earlier, giving them the skills and experience they need to be ready for school.

Minister for Early Childhood Education Jenny Mikakos today visited the Maribyrnong Community Centre to herald this almost $5 billion reform, which will see three-year-old kinder rolled out across the state for every Victorian child beginning in 2020.

It includes $1.68 billion over the next decade to build 785 new kinders and expand 170 more across the state, in what will be the largest social, economic and educational reform ever undertaken in early childhood learning in Victoria’s history.

Already home to around 2400 services providing kindergarten programs, this investment represents a nearly 40 per cent bump in services across our state and is expected to create around 5000 construction jobs.

Footscray families are already benefitting from Labor’s strong track record on delivering early years infrastructure, with a new $5.4 million centre on the cards thanks to a contribution from the Children’s Facilities Capital Program. When complete, the Church Street Children’s Centre will get to move from its temporary location at the Maribyrnong Community Centre.

Labor’s commitment is 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.

But under Labor’s plan, around a quarter of Victorian families will pay nothing at all.

For families with a higher income, the Labor Government will cover 65 per cent of their child’s kindergarten costs, consistent with the current subsidy for four-year-old kinder. This represents a saving of at least $3500 for families whose children attend a standalone kinder.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Early Childhood Education Jenny Mikakos

“Universal access to three-year-old kinder is an Australian-first and make no mistake, this will change lives.”

“We’ve promised to roll out three-year-old kinder if re-elected and we’re backing it up, undertaking the biggest early education build our state has ever seen. Only Labor will make sure local kids get the opportunities they deserve.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Footscray Marsha Thomson

“Three-year-old kinder is the smartest investment we can make and it is something that will have real impact on Victorian families, including here in Footscray.”

“The new Church Street Children’s Centre will provide all the early learning services local mums and dads need.”