Kindergarten Funding - 15 hour programs (16.04.2015)
Written on the 5 May 2015
16 April 2015
GEORGIE CROZIER (Southern Metropolitan)
My constituency question is to the Minister for Families and Children, and I am glad she is in the house today.
I have spoken with a number of kindergartens and parents of children attending the 15-hour kindergarten programs within my electorate of Southern Metropolitan Region over recent months.
Kindergartens are trying to put together their budgets for 2016 and have no clarity around the program I just spoke of for 2016.Ms Mikakos We get that from your federal colleagues.
Ms CROZIER The minister was very vocal in the last Parliament, questioning the previous government's actions to provide that certainty, and indeed the coalition government was able to provide certainty for the sector until the end of 2015. Despite any decision the federal government may make, will the minister provide certainty to the sector by guaranteeing 15 hours for kindergartens and Victorian families in 2016 and beyond?Ms Mikakos So your federal Liberal colleagues are off the hook!
Ms CROZIER You are being vocal again now, Ms Mikakos. You are responsible, and I would like an answer from you.Ms Mikakos interjected.
Ms CROZIER You are responsible, Minister.Honourable members interjecting.
Ms CROZIER On a point of order, President, the minister is debating my constituency question. Can you clarify whether that is allowed within the standing orders?
The PRESIDENT Order!
The minister is not actually debating. She is just interjecting, and there has been an interchange between the two of you, which is disorderly.
Southern Metropolitan Region
Answers to Constituency Questions
Asked by: Ms CrozierDirected to: Minister for Families and Children
Asked on: 16 April 2015
The member fails to acknowledge that the previous Victorian Coalition government never provided a guarantee of 15 hours of kindergarten funding.The lack of Commonwealth commitment to ongoing funding beyond 2015 is causing significant uncertainty for the sector, with kindergarten services already planning their budgets, timetables, enrolments and staffing needs for 2016.
At the Education Council meeting on 5 March 2015, I made direct representations to Commonwealth Ministers on the need to urgently provide Commonwealth funding certainty for beyond 2015. I have also written to my Commonwealth counterparts and the Premier has written to the Prime Minister about the importance of continuing the National Partnership Agreement.I reiterated these concerns at a meeting with the Hon Scott Ryan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Education and Training on 20 March 2015.
The final report of the Productivity Commission's Inquiry into Child Care and Early Childhood Learning noted the success of Universal Access and recommended that the Commonwealth Government continues to provide funding. The Commonwealth has not, however, committed to a timeline for making a decision on its funding contribution.
The Victorian Government is committed to ongoing advocacy for the continuation of Commonwealth Government funding to build on Victoria's achievements. I urge you to make urgent representation to your Commonwealth Coalition counterparts to continue to fund 15 hours of kindergarten.