Tuesday, 21 June 2022


Early childhood education

Early childhood education

Mr TAYLOR (Bayswater) (19:23): (6435) I wish to raise a matter for the Minister for Early Childhood. The action that I seek is that the minister join me in my community to help lead a forum on our government’s recent massive overhaul of early years education in this state for local families. Childcare costs are a huge burden on families, with some spending up to 25 per cent of their daily earnings on it, meaning it is just unaffordable or out of reach for many. Thousands of parents, the majority being women, are being forced into working less to save on childcare costs. This just does not make any sense. That is why the Andrews Labor government’s once-in-a-generation reform and the biggest shake-up of our kinder and childcare system is simply seismic.

Here is what you need to know. To relieve pressure on household budgets kinder will be free for three- and four-year-olds from 2023. This will save families up to $2500 per child every year at a time when it is needed most. This has been welcome news to local families across Knox and indeed the entire state. But we also know that 90 per cent of brain development occurs in the first five years of life, so that time is critical for young people. That is why we committed to funding three-year-old kinder in 2018 and why we have rolled it out across Victoria this year. It is why we will be transitioning the current 15-hour four-year-old kinder program to a 30-hour pre-prep program and rolling it out from 2025, with universal access by 2032. That will mean every kid will be able to access 30 hours a week of free, play-based learning to not only ensure they get their best start in life but also take pressure off families’ budgets. Finally, we are also establishing 50 new government-operated childcare centres across Victoria, with the first centres opening in 2025 and going into areas that need them most.

It is only a Labor government that ever has and ever will implement these profound policies to support Victorian families, Victorian women and Victorian children. I am incredibly proud of this reform, and I look forward to welcoming the minister to my community to discuss these reforms and hear from local families.