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Councils support COAG call for long-term preschool funding

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The Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) supports the call from the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) to lock in long-term funding for kindergartens.

Victoria has a unique model of preschool education, built on a partnership across three levels of government with support from communities and parents. This model has resulted in high participation rates.

Under the National Partnership on Universal Access to Early Childhood Education, Commonwealth funding has been provided on a year-to-year basis, and yet a long-term funding arrangement has not been agreed.

The introduction of funding under this Partnership was predicated on evidence about the benefits of early childhood education for children prior to full-time schooling. The weight of evidence has only grown stronger since the Partnership was established.

In Victoria, kindergarten holds a special place in the community’s heart as a vital step in preparing children for school. For children from disadvantaged families, the link between quality preschool programs and long-term outcomes is even more pronounced.

The continual short-term funding arrangements have made it difficult for governments, councils, and kindergartens to plan and provide services.

This difficulty for councils is compounded by financial losses from the current lack of access to the full Federal child care relief package – with the Federal Government dismissing local government as the responsibility of state governments. Furthermore, council staff were recently deemed ineligibile for the State Government funding assistance for public sector workers. These impacts are causing some councils to consider their future role as a provider of early years services and programs.

Cr Coral Ross, President of the Municipal Association of Victoria, said that early childhood education providers deserve the security that comes with long-term funding.

“It is undeniable that kindergarten provides numerous benefits to children prior to full-time schooling.

“Long-term funding under the National Partnership on Universal Access to Early Childhood Education is vital to provide security to kindergartens, councils, young families and the community.

“There is an opportunity for the Australian Government to cement its funding for early childhood education and create better outcomes for our children.

“Long-term funding security is critical to ensure all children have access to an uninterrupted, high quality kindergarten education they need and deserve."

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For further information, contact MAV President Cr Coral Ross on 0438 005 225 or the MAV Communications Unit on (03) 9667 5590.