HEPBURN TO BENEFIT FROM THREE-YEAR-OLD KINDER BY 2021

Every Victorian child born under a re-elected Andrews Labor Government will start kindergarten a year earlier, with kids in Hepburn some of the first to benefit.

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 2021 right here in Hepburn.

This will be the largest social, economic and educational reform ever undertaken in early childhood learning in Victoria’s history, and will help make sure local kids are ready for school and set up for life.

Labor’s commitment is also good news for local families struggling with the cost of living.

Right now, many families 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.

Recent research conducted by community service provider Uniting shows 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.

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.

Those with kids who go to long-day-care will also benefit, with these centres given funding to employ teachers in their three-year-old rooms. Centres that make cost savings due to our investment will be required to pass any savings on to families.

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.

The reforms will see three-year-old kinder rolled out to six local government areas (LGAs) by 2020, with Buloke, Hindmarsh, Northern Grampians, South Gippsland, Strathbogie and Yarriambiack all set to benefit.

Other communities joining Hepburn in the 2021 rollout include Alpine, Ararat, Campaspe, Central Goldfields, Colac-Otway, Corangamite, East Gippsland, Glenelg, Indigo, Loddon, Murrindindi, Southern Grampians, Towong and West Wimmera.

This initial expansion will roll out to regional Victoria first, covering the areas that already have the capacity and facilities to meet demand – allowing us to get on with building the rest.

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

Quotes attributable to Member for Macedon Mary-Anne Thomas

“This is an Australian-first – and a re-elected Labor Government will make sure it’s Hepburn’s kids who benefit.”

“While the Federal Liberal Government refuses to meet its commitments on four-year-old kindergarten, we will make sure local kids are ready for school and ready for life.”