La­bor’s big kinder sur­prise

State to de­liver full 15 hours of three-year-old kinder

Wangaratta Chronicle - - Rural Roundup -

EV­ERY Ru­ral City of Wan­garatta child born un­der a re-elected An­drews La­bor Govern­ment will start kinder­garten a year ear­lier, ac­cord­ing to Ja­clyn Symes (MLC, North­ern Vic­to­ria).

Ms Symes said La­bor will in­vest al­most $5 bil­lion over the next decade to de­liver a full 15 hours of three-yearold kinder, help­ing make sure lo­cal kids are ready for school and set for life.

She said it will be the largest so­cial, eco­nomic and ed­u­ca­tional re­form ever un­der­taken in early child­hood learn­ing in Vic­to­ria’s his­tory.

Ms Symes said the com­mit­ment was also good news for lo­cal fam­i­lies strug­gling with the cost of liv­ing.

She said re­cent re­search con­ducted by com­mu­nity ser­vice provider Unit­ing showed that nearly one in five fam­i­lies do not have their chil­dren en­rolled in early learn­ing be­cause of the cost.

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

For fam­i­lies with a higher in­come, the La­bor Govern­ment will cover 65 per cent of their child’s kinder­garten costs, con- sis­tent 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,” Ms Symes said.

“All the ev­i­dence shows that early ed­u­ca­tion can shape a child’s en­tire fu­ture,.

“It’s why this ex­tra year of kinder – and all the learn­ing and play that comes with it – will make the world of dif­fer­ence to lo­cal chil­dren and lo­cal fam­i­lies.”

Ms Symes said fam­i­lies with kids who go to long­day-care will also ben­e­fit, with these cen­tres given fund­ing to em­ploy teach­ers in their three-year-old rooms and cen­tres that make cost sav­ings due to La­bor’s in­vest­ment will be re­quired to pass any sav­ings on to fam­i­lies.

The an­nounce­ment said 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.

Ms Symes said a re-elected La­bor Govern­ment will work closely with the early child­hood sec­tor, in­clud­ing lo­cal coun­cils, to de­liver this re­form.

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