Skip navigation

Constituency Question: Support for Kinders

profile image
Sam Hibbins MP
Member for Prahran
18 February 2021

Mr HIBBINS (Prahran): My constituency question is for the Minister for Early Childhood. Can the minister outline what actions the government will take to support quality not-for-profit kinders in the Prahran electorate that are facing significant financial shortfalls if they participate in the government’s free kinder scheme? The government’s free kinder scheme, whilst welcome in its intent, unfortunately by its design has placed local quality not-for-profit kinders in an unenviable position of either losing hundreds of thousands of dollars if they do sign up to the scheme or losing enrolments from families who expected free kinder if they do not. For families that will mean either a loss of quality at a community kinder that exceeds the quality standards or being unable to benefit from free kinder despite the financial hit that so many families have faced due to COVID. The department has informed the sector that they estimate 9 per cent of service providers will be negatively impacted, so I urge the government to fix this to make sure that all kinders and families can benefit from the scheme. Our quality community kinders are so important.

Answered: 6 May 2021

The Free Kinder initiative is supporting workforce participation during the recovery phase from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, especially for women, and maximising kindergarten participation by removing cost as a barrier.

The per child funding level for sessional services has been set at a rate that covers the fees charged by the vast majority of community-based sessional kindergarten services operated by local governments, Early Years Managers and parent committees. Typical sessional kindergarten fees in Victoria are between $1,700 and $2,000.

This additional funding will be paid on top of all usual funding streams and the initiative is not compulsory. All kindergarten services may choose to opt-in or opt-out after consideration of their individual circumstances.

 The Andrews Labor Government’s intention is that as many families as possible can access a free program, hence the requirement for sessional services not to charge any compulsory fees for a funded 15 hour program. These services may charge for hours over and above the 15 per week.

 I am pleased to report that as at April 2021, close to 98 per cent of funded kindergarten services across Victoria have opted into the initiative. This includes the majority of services in the City of Stonnington and surrounds.

While most sessional services will receive more revenue in 2021 in Free Kinder funding, compared to their normal parent fees, I am aware of the concerns raised by a small number of sessional kindergarten providers that charge fees well above $2,122.

The Department of Education and Training will continue to work with any service that has concerns on a case-by-case basis to determine the best outcomes for the service and their community. I am advised that the Department has already been working with services from the local government areas that make up the Prahran electorate to work through their individual concerns.

 Ingrid Stitt MP

Minister for Workplace Safety

Minister for Early Childhood

profile image
Sam Hibbins MP
Member for Prahran
18 February 2021
SHARE:

WHAT I'M FIGHTING FOR


LATEST NEWS

PARLIAMENT

Major Events Legislation Amendment (Unauthorised Ticket Packages and Other Matters) Bill 2021

MR HIBBINS (Prahran): I rise to speak on the Major Events Legislation Amendment (Unauthorised Ticket Packages and Other Matters) Bill 2021. This bill obviously builds on previous legislation that we have passed in this Parliament that put restrictions on ticket scalpers and onsellers to major sporting events and other major events in...

PARLIAMENT

Constituency question: Plan for Prahran TAFE site

Mr HIBBINS (Prahran): My constituency question is to the Minister for Training and Skills, and I ask for further detail on the plan to acquire the Prahran TAFE site and develop a master plan, which is an important step forward towards realising the shared vision of an arts and education precinct...

PARLIAMENT

Members statements: Out and About in Prahran

Mr HIBBINS (Prahran): It has been great to be out and about in the Prahran electorate meeting up with residents, businesses, community groups and organisations. In recent weeks I have spoken at Reconciliation Stonnington about the high rates of Indigenous incarceration in Victoria and the need for criminal justice reform. I...

PARLIAMENT

Members statements: Far-Right Ideology and Protest

Mr HIBBINS (Prahran): I rise to condemn the inciting of violence, the parading of gallows and the torrent of racist, sexist and transphobic abuse that has been directed at my parliamentary colleagues. Peaceful protests, demonstrations and even some direct action are the hallmarks of a democratic society, but what is...