Supported playgroup program

I rise to inform the house of how the Andrews Labor government is informing parents across Victoria to gain skills and confidence with their children.

Last week I was pleased to visit a supported playgroup in Dallas together with the local member for Broadmeadows in the Assembly, Frank McGuire, to announce a $22.1 million statewide expansion of supported playgroups. We know how important playgroups are to both parents and children. They provide a space for children to learn through play and help parents make stronger connections with other parents and their community. This is especially important in the first years of a child’s life.

Supported playgroups are convened by a trained facilitator who can provide specialist advice as well as referrals to additional services if needed. Currently supported playgroups operate in less than half of Victoria’s local government areas, but this expansion means they will now be available across the entire state. This expansion will add approximately 750 new supported playgroups and will mean an additional 6000 families will be able to participate in a supported playgroup each year. Families in areas like Banyule, Greater Bendigo, Macedon Ranges, Nillumbik, Yarra, Moonee Valley and Melbourne, just to name a few, will benefit from new supported playgroups being established in their local communities. All local government areas that currently run supported playgroups will receive a boost to support the employment of staff with appropriate skills and experience.

Like any skill, parenting can be learned and improved, which is why having access to the right support and information is so important. We want all parents to feel confident in their parenting skills and able to use these skills to create a positive environment. This initiative forms part of our landmark $202.1 million investment in the Education State Early Childhood Reform Plan.