THE state government is urging Wimmera families to support a petition for ongoing kindergarten funding.
For the past five years, the federal government has signed short-term yearly agreements to help fund 15 hours of four-year-old kindergarten a week.
The current agreement – announced in February – runs until the end of 2019.
Through the National Partnership Agreement on Early Childhood Education, federal government investment contributes to five hours of funded kindergarten a week for Victorian children. The state government contributes funding towards the other 10 hours a week.
Member for Western Victoria Jaala Pulford said a lack of ongoing long-term funding caused uncertainty for families, kindergarten operators and kindergarten staff.
Ms Pulford has called for Wimmera people to sign an online petition urging Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to commit to sustainable funding for four-year-old kindergarten.
She said a report released earlier this year – Lifting Our Game – noted that short-term funding arrangements were hurting the education industry and hampering future planning.
The report also noted that Australia failed to invest adequately in early childhood education, despite the benefits of doing so being widely recognised internationally.
Ms Pulford said the federal government needed to heed the report’s recommendations.
“If Malcolm Turnbull refuses, it not only hurts our kids, but it could also result in Victorian parents paying an extra $2000 a year for alternative childcare arrangements,” she said.
“Children in Western Victoria deserve better, they deserve certainty.”
Ms Pulford said people could visit thismatters.org.au/kindercuts to sign the petition.