Thursday, 19 October 2023

Questions without notice and ministers statements

Ministers statements: multicultural story time grants


Ministers statements: multicultural story time grants

Lizzie BLANDTHORN (Western Metropolitan – Minister for Children, Minister for Disability) (12:23): I rise to update the house on this government’s new round of multicultural story time grants. I am very excited to be the Minister for Children, bringing together my existing portfolios of child protection and family services with early childhood and pre-prep and maternal health. I am especially happy to be standing in the chamber today to speak about this government’s multicultural story time grants program, which will provide a range of benefits to Victorian children and families. Last Friday morning I was at the Chelsea Library with the member for Mordialloc in the other place to announce the opening round of these grants at a Spanish story time. I know how important reading and storytelling are for children, and I was very pleased that my Spanish lessons of some time ago did not let me down, as I read Azul el sombrero, verde el sombrero –Blue Hat, Green Hat – to the young members of the Spanish story time at Chelsea.

Victoria is a proudly multicultural state, and its cultural diversity is one of its greatest strengths. Our linguistic diversity supports our economy, enriches our society and helps make Victoria such a great place to live, which makes using storytelling to help support young Victorian families such an important investment. That is why in the 2023–24 Victorian state budget we allocated $6 million in funding over four years for the story time program. The program will use the power of storytelling to support Victorian children’s connection to their language and culture, improve the health literacy of Victorian parents with young children and provide culturally appropriate information about health services to those families. I was able to see for myself the benefits of multicultural story time last Friday morning. This investment demonstrates the Victorian government’s commitment to supporting all Victorian children and their parents, and I look forward to seeing new multicultural story times being established throughout Victoria and being made available to more young children and families who will benefit from the initiative.