Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Questions without notice and ministers statements

Ministers statements: early childhood education

Ministers statements: early childhood education

Mr ANDREWS (Mulgrave—Premier) (14:39): As tempting as it is to give this ministers statement to the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, I am very pleased to rise to update the house further on our nation-leading partnership with New South Wales. I want to speak specifically about the pre-prep year, doubling the hours from 15 to 30 hours per week for four-year-olds. This is about making sure that we acknowledge that 90 per cent of a child’s brain development occurs before the age of five. This is about socialisation, play-based learning, skills for a lifetime. It also means women, of course, can go back to work—not only women but largely women—and the Minister for Women has gone through those female participation numbers.

This is about choice, but it is also about the cost of living more broadly. If you can replace 15 hours of very, very costly child care with 15 hours of free prep, then you are a long way in front of where you were. You might then be able to not so much work for the Australian Taxation Office if you did, say, an extra day or an extra shift, you might be able to work for your own household budget. This is profound change. This is the sort of change that will change lives and set us up for the future. Of course those littlest Victorians who will benefit from this in 20 years time when they are joining the labour market, when they are working, will have the skills that the economy will demand of them to do those jobs of the future.

Can I thank colleagues who have worked on this important policy. Can I thank the New South Wales Premier. Can I also pay special mention to my good friend the former Premier of South Australia, Jay Weatherill. I want to also single out for praise Nicola Forrest. The Thrive by Five agenda has been pushed by the Minderoo Foundation and by the Forrest family. This is all about the best start for the best life—great for the economy, great for families, great for women and great for our kids.