Protecting Kindergarten From Liberal Cuts

Victorian mums and dads will be left out of pocket if the Morrison Liberal Government pushes ahead with plans to withdraw kinder funding.

Minister for Early Childhood Education Jenny Mikakos will be leading the call to reinstate federal funding and support our littlest Victorians when ministers gather for the Education Council in Adelaide today.

It will be the first Council held since the Liberal leadership spill and Dan Tehan’s promotion as Federal Education Minister.

He’s inherited a woeful track record from Simon Birmingham, with the Commonwealth having already pulled the pin this year on safety and quality checks for all Victorian childcare centres as well as dumping occasional childcare funding.

Ms Mikakos said even more Victorian families will lose out if he goes ahead with kinder cuts.

Budget papers revealed they plan to “save” the $120 million that is normally provided to support five hours of kindergarten a week for every Victorian 4-year-old. This is Liberal code for “cut”.

Under the National Partnership Agreement on Universal Access to Early Childhood Education, the Andrews Labor Government provides 10 hours and the Federal Government a further five hours.

But the Federal Budget papers say this agreement will now “conclude” on 30 June 2020.

It puts preschool at risk for thousands of little Australians – including almost 79,000 here in Victoria.

Ms Mikakos is writing to every kinder in Dan Tehan’s federal seat of Wannon to urge them to join the chorus and ensure kinder funding is his top priority.

A nationally-backed review found Australia was behind the pack when it came to investing in early childhood education – it ranks 24 out of 26 OECD nations.

If Dan Tehan and Scott Morrison get their way, the year 2019 looks set to be the final year of 4-year-old kinder as we know it – every Victorian child born after 2016 will miss out on their 15 hours.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Early Childhood Education Jenny Mikakos

“We’ve got a new Prime Minister and a new Education Minister but the cuts to kindergarten funding remain.”

“It’s time for the Federal Liberal Government to give early childhood education the attention it deserves – and that starts with on-going, permanent funding for kinder hours.”

“Scott Morrison needs to get on board with funding, or else Victorian families will be left with a choice of going back to just 10 hours a week or having to pay more for this vital childhood education.”