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Kids and elderly deserve service certainty

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Ahead of the May election, the Federal Budget has committed funding for community care and four-year old kindergarten. The Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) welcomes funding certainty till June 2022 for our ageing population, but has concerns that the four-year old kindergarten funding commitment is only until December 2020.

The additional $5.9 billion committed to aged care extends funding arrangements for two years from July 2020 to June 2022 for the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP).

The CHSP contributes to essential home support services such as Meals on Wheels, personal care, nursing, domestic assistance, home maintenance and community transport to assist older people to keep living independently in their own home.

The continuation of block funding provides stability of services for the community and councils beyond June 2020. However, the MAV will continue to advocate for ongoing continuation of the CHSP, reinstatement of growth funding and rolling-in of Home Care package level 1 resources into the CHSP.

The Commonwealth Government also funds five of the 15 hours of kindergarten provided each week to four-year old children. The Victorian Government contributes the other two-thirds.

Preschool services and families anxiously await each Federal Budget to learn whether Commonwealth investment will continue from one year to the next. Again, commitment has only been extended for another year to December 2020.

Parents need the right support to help raise thriving children. More than 82,000 Victorian kids attend kindergarten, helping to ensure they receive the best start to their formal education years.

Long-term Federal funding investment would ensure four-year old kindergarten remains affordable and accessible to all children in the year before they commence primary school.

Cr Coral Ross, MAV President said frail ageing community members will benefit from the quality care continuing to be funded under the CHSP to help them live independently in their own home as they age.

“Our most vulnerable community members rely on funding certainty for councils to provide local services.

“We welcome the extended funding to the CHSP till June 2022, however we are seeking a permanent commitment from all political parties ahead of the May election to block funding from the Commonwealth.

“Similarly, without permanent ongoing Federal funding families could face an extra $2,000 a year in costs for kindergarten. Research unequivocally shows that children who participate in early childhood education enjoy sustained benefits that continue through their school years and beyond.

“We call on all political parties to commit permanent funding for four-year old kindergarten and aged care services provided by councils ahead of the May federal election,” she said.

To find out more, visit the Fix Community Care campaign and the I Love Kinder campaign.

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