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Kindergarten funding

Campaign objective

To secure commitments from the Commonwealth to:

  1. provide ongoing funding for five hours of kindergarten, and
  2. work positively and constructively with the states to secure an enduring funding arrangement for 15 hours of kindergarten beyond 2019 and a long-term commitment for the National Quality Agenda.

While funding is secured until 2019 for 15 hours of kindergarten, the National Partnership Agreement for the National Quality Agenda on Early Childhood Education and Care will not be renewed. This is the system that oversees regulation and quality assessment of all early childhood education and care services.

The MAV is increasing our advocacy efforts for continuation of these commitments and we urge councils to also advocate on these important matters affecting families in your community.

Our advocacy

Since MAV advocacy commenced in 2010, Victorian councils have received:

  • $5.5 million in federal funding for operational planning and assessment
  • $4 million to support change management
  • $300 million of state/federal funds for capital investment in kindergarten facilities
  • $6.4 million to strengthen and set up kindergarten central enrolment.

Commonwealth funding for the additional five hours operational costs of the national reforms has been provided on a year-to-year basis, however a long-term funding commitment has not yet been agreed. Funding is currently committed until December 2019, with a commitment by the Turnbull Government to work with states on an enduring funding arrangement beyond 2019.

The Commonwealth’s sudden decision (May 2018) to withdraw from the national partnership for the National Quality Agenda on Early Childhood Education and Care is a double edged sword: it places quality of care for our children at risk and heralds an uncertain future for the national partnership arrangements.

Recent reports highlight the need for a stable funding and quality base for our youngest children, with national oversight and investment:

The MAV’s advocacy work to secure enduring operational funding for 15 hours of kindergarten has included a range of submissions; attendances at public hearings; and regular meetings and briefings with Victorian and Commonwealth Ministers and shadow ministers.

We have also joined the I Love Kinder community advocacy campaign to secure Federal funding and are encouraging councils to join.

I Love Kinder logo

About the campaign

In November 2008 the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), as part of its early childhood reforms, endorsed the national agenda of universal access to 15 hours of kindergarten a week for four year-olds by 2013. Since July 2013, the vast majority of Victorian preschoolers have had access to a 15 hour program.

Victoria’s preschool participation rate for 2016 was 96.2 per cent with the preschool participation rate for Aboriginal children continuing to increase to 90.5 per cent. This represents over 82,000 Victorian children reaping the lifelong benefits of a quality early childhood education every year.

Operational funding for kindergarten

Under the National Partnership Agreement, the Commonwealth provides about one-third of the funding for 15 hours of preschool and the Victorian Government contributes two-thirds. To facilitate this funding arrangement, there have been five separate National Partnership Agreements on Universal Access (15 hours).

A national regulatory system

Australia’s jointly governed National Quality Framework upholds children's best interests through the implementation of a world-class quality system. This aspirational system, coupled with national progress reporting, has underpinned significant advances to reduce vulnerability and increase school readiness as evidenced by the Australian Early Development Census (AEDC).

The National Partnership Agreement has been the regulatory mechanism that binds this system together for the benefit of 1.3 million children and 900,000 families accessing early education and care services across Australia.

Kindergarten provision in Victoria

Local government in Victoria voluntarily invests significant funds and resources towards kindergarten provision – councils own the majority of facilities, are a major service planner and provider, and offer subsidies and other assistance for kinder programs.

  • To achieve the 15 hours national kindergarten reforms, Victorian councils originally invested $300 million of ratepayer funding towards capital investment in facilities
  • In the past four years, councils have invested a further $478m to meet the growth and to extend/modernise facilities
  • Of Victoria’s 1,320 community-based kindergartens, at least 1,094 (83 per cent) operate from council-owned buildings
  • The vast majority of Victorian kindergartens are operated on a not-for-profit basis by community organisations, councils, early years’ managers or parent cooperatives.

Victoria’s unique partnership model also relies on council, community and parent support (including fees and fundraising) contributing a further 35 per cent to keep programs running.

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