Premier celebrates first enrolments
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has visited Stawell as a countdown to a roll-out of new kindergarten services gets underway.
Northern Grampians Shire, including Stawell, is one of the first six municipalities to benefit from an expansion of a three-year-oldkindergarten program next year.
Mr Andrews visited Stawell’s Marrang Kindergarten to discuss the reforms, which will give families access to partly subsidised, or in some cases fully subsidised, services.
He joined Northern Grampians council, community and childrenservices representatives and educators at the kindergarten to speak about the scheme and celebrate the first enrolments.
Mr Andrews said his visit reflected a significant milestone in child-support services.
“This is leading our nation and is all about giving our littlest Victorians the best start in life,” he said.
“This is not only about those first five years of life, when 90 percent of a child’s brain development occurs, but it’s also about supporting families and cutting the cost of living.”
Mr Andrews said the program would save families with young children $5000 every year.”
The State Government will invest $5-billion across the state during the next decade to provide a full 15 hours of three-year-old kindergarten.
The reform is designed to provide an opportunity for every Victorian child to start kindergarten at the age of three.
Families living in Northern Grampians, Hindmarsh, Yarriambiack, Buloke, South Gippsland and Strathbogie municipalities will be the first to benefit from subsidised programs in 2020.
Service providers have already opened enrolments for the new program across the municipalities.
The roll-out will continue progressively across the state after next year, with families in a further 15 regional municipalities to benefit in 2021. This will be expanded in 2022 to give all Victorian three-year-olds access to five hours of funded kindergarten, before being scaled up to a full 15-hour program by 2029.
The 2019-20 Victorian Budget included $881.6-million in the threeyear-old kinder rollout, as part of a $4.1-billion broad investment in education. The package included $92.4-million to support early childhood teachers and educators through professional development, mentoring and scholarships.
Investment in three-year-old kinder also includes $473.2-million for infrastructure, which will support investment into new and expanded kindergarten facilities.
Northern Grampians mayor Kevin Erwin said the council was excited the municipality was one of the first to access the reforms.
“It’s going to mean that our children will have a major head start in their learning and development with the extra year of kinder, not to mention a whole lot of fun as well,” he said.