Future Brumby Labor will invest in the biggest expansion of Victoria’s kinders in the State’s history

Future Brumby Labor will invest in the biggest expansion of Victoria’s kinders in the State’s history

Posted on 16. Nov, 2010 in Election Media Release, Victoria

A future Brumby Labor Government will invest in the biggest expansion of Victoria’s kinders in the State’s history, with $100 million to build up to 335 additional kinder rooms – providing at least 10,000 more kinder places.  

Premier John Brumby said the $100 million for kinder rooms was the centrepiece of Labor’s early childhood package, which also included a further $20 million for more Children’s Centres and 800 scholarships for early childhood professionals to upgrade their qualifications.  

“Labor is committed to continuing our record investment in kinders to meet the needs of the more than 200 babies born each day in Victoria,” Mr Brumby said.

“The $120 million for kinder rooms and Children’s Centres is the single biggest injection of capital for early years services in Victoria’s history.

“The baby boom, coupled with record kinder participation in Victoria as well as a national expansion of kinder hours from 10 to 15 per week by 2013, are all putting pressure on our kinders.

“We understand how important accessing quality early childhood services is for families, and that is why to meet this increasing demand we will expand our kinder facilities, increase places and make sure kinder teachers have the training and support they need.

“Kinder plays an important role in a child’s development and we are determined to provide high quality kinder programs across the State so that every child can participate.”

A future Labor Government would commit:

  • $100 million to build up to 335 kinder rooms to create capacity for more than 10,000 extra kindergarten places;
  • $20 million to expand the network of integrated Children’s Centres;
  • $8 million for Learning, Play and Equipment grants for every community-based kinder;
  • $3.5 million to extend the popular Young Readers Program to ensure all children are encouraged to read at home;
  • $6 million to expand playgroups, toy libraries and other programs that enhance the development of children under three; and
  • $4 million for scholarships to help 800 early childhood professionals upgrade their qualifications.

 

Minister for Children and Early Childhood Development Maxine Morand said the $100 million boost would provide grants of up to $300,000 for kinders to add places by expanding and modernising their facilities.

“This funding will help kinders meet increasing demand and ensure programs for three-year-olds are not lost,” Ms Morand said.

“The additional $20 million for new integrated Children’s Centres will ensure Labor can continue to build on the 63 already operating, and 40 now being planned or built.

“Integrated Children’s Centres are great because they bring together a range of early childhood services for young families, including kinder, maternal and child health services and playgroups, in one convenient location, making it easier for parents to access the services they need.

“A further $8 million will be provided to give Play, Learning and Equipment grants to every community kinder in Victoria to ensure they have quality resources for children.”

Ms Morand said the Young Readers Program, which runs through Maternal and Child Health Services, has provided more than 100,000 free books to families to help them engage their child in learning to read.

“Young Readers is the only early literacy program available to all children and their families in Victoria and Labor’s commitment to provide $3.5 million will ensure this program can continue to grow,” she said.

“Playgroups and toy libraries will also receive more support under Labor with $6 million earmarked to provide $5 million for local councils to expand programs and provide more resources and $1 million for Playgroups Victoria to deliver more parent-run playgroups.”

Ms Morand said Labor would also support early childhood professionals in recognition of the key role they play in a child’s education and social development.

“To meet growing demand it is vital we have a highly qualified workforce to continue offering great kinder programs. Labor will provide a further $4 million, to build on the $15 million Early Childhood Workforce Strategy announced last year, to fund an additional 800 scholarships,” she said.

“We are also committed to consulting with early childhood teachers to amend the Education and Training Reform Act to allow them to register through the Victorian Institute of Teaching and to work on options for a formal portable long service leave scheme for kinder teachers and assistants.”

Ms Morand said the package announced today would ensure Labor could continue its record investment in early childhood services.

“Over the last decade we have increased funding for kinder programs by 225 per cent and contributed $134 million for new Children’s Centres and to refurbish kinders,” she said.

“This is in stark contrast to the Liberal Party, which when last in office, cut kinder funding.

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