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Baillieu Government misleading parents over new kindergarten grants

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Minister for School Education

Peter Garrett

Baillieu Government misleading parents over new kindergarten grants

Friday 9 November 2012

The announcement by the Baillieu Government that 92 kindergarten services will benefit from a $40 million capital grants program is great news - but the truth is that the bulk of the funding for these grants is coming from the Gillard Labor Government.

Victorian Early Childhood Minister Wendy Lovell has been trumpeting the grants in regional media up and down the state, without once acknowledging that the vast majority of it is funded through the Commonwealth’s Early Childhood Education National Partnership.

This is deliberately misleading Victorian parents and communities.

The fact is that the Federal Labor Government is providing record funding for Victorian kindergartens as part of our plan to make sure every Australian child has access to 15 hours a week of early childhood education in the year before school.

We’ve already provided $210.6 million for Victoria under the current $970 million, five-year funding scheme, which has helped pay for the new buildings Ms Lovell is claiming credit for.

Thanks to this funding, there is now 100 per cent enrolment in four-year-old kinder programs and children are attending for an average of 16.8 hours a week - the best results in the country. The funding is helping pay for a state-wide program to modernise infrastructure including new and upgraded facilities to enable the delivery of 15 hours of kindergarten per week.

And today I’ve announced a further $1.1 billion in new funding for a further three years, a substantial share of which will go to Victoria.

Let’s not forget that the Victorian Liberal Government failed to invest a single dollar in capital funding for early childhood education in this year’s Budget. They slashed funding for the Take-A-Break occasional care program and cut $29 million from early intervention services.

Only Labor can be trusted to invest in the crucial early childhood education and care services that Australian families need and deserve.

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