The Abbott Government has granted a short-term reprieve to kindergarten funding, but parents and staff at Summerhill Park Kindergarten in Glen Iris are worried that this is a short term fix that won’t last.

The decision to extend funding for 15 hours of kinder for four-year-olds is a cynical move, designed to take the volatile issue off the agenda ahead of the State Election in November.

Shadow Minister for Children, Jenny Mikakos, and Labor’s candidate for Burwood, Gavin Ryan, met with parents and staff at Summerhill Park to discuss the funding changes.

Summerhill’s staff still don’t have any certainty about its funding beyond 2015. Neither the State or Federal governments have outlined what Victoria’s allocation will be, whether funds for new buildings will be included and whether funding will be renewed in 12 months’ time.

The agreement between the Commonwealth and the States which secured the kindergarten funding was torn up by the Abbott Government. The Minister responsible, Sussan Ley, said preschool funding was not a Commonwealth responsibility.

Quotes attributable to Ms Mikakos:

“The Liberals tore up the kindergarten deal, now they’re patching it up with sticky tape on the eve of three state elections.”

“It’s a secret deal done behind closed doors, and the short-term fix only leaves parents and staff with more questions.”

Quotes attributable to Mr Ryan:

“Only Labor will stand up for parents, staff and kinder kids here in the seat of Burwood and across Victoria, and only Labor will stand up to Tony Abbott.”

Key Facts

  • The National Partnership Agreement was a significant Labor reform designed to increase kindergarten hours and the professional qualifications of staff. It also provided significant infrastructure funding to increase kindergarten hours.
  • Under the National Partnership, the Federal Government provided Victoria $368.7 million over the life of the agreement.
  • The 2014-15 Federal Budget provided no funding for the continuation of the National Partnership Agreement beyond December 2014.
  • The 2014-15 State Budget provided no funding for kindergarten infrastructure for 2014-15 and beyond.