Kindergarten funding (23.02.2016)
Written on the 25 February 2016
23 February 2016
GEORGIE CROZIER (LIB - Southern Metropolitan)
My adjournment matter this evening is for the Minister for Local Government in the other place. For months I have been calling on the Minister for Families and Children to confirm that the cost of rising kindergarten fees due to the government's funding shortfall will not be passed on to parents, and unfortunately the minister has refused to answer those requests adequately.
Last year it was reported in a number of papers that a council in a regional area was facing significant challenges and had to prepare for the government's rate capping regime.As part of that preparation the council was contemplating having to increase kindergarten fees by anywhere between 33 and 55 per cent to meet funding shortfalls or possibly absorb some of the funding shortfall that I have mentioned.
As we know, many areas in Victoria are doing it tough at the moment, particularly those drought-stricken areas, and so I was very pleased that the member for Murray Plains in the Legislative Assembly, the Honourable Peter Walsh, challenged the Premier and called on him to honour his commitment he made last November to deliver free kindergarten to drought-stricken areas in the 10 affected local government areas across the state. The drought-affected areas will now get the free kindergarten as was promised, but what of other regional areas and other areas in metropolitan Melbourne, where councils are being significantly affected by the Andrews government's rate capping policy?The action I therefore ask of the minister is that she provide to the house details of any shires or councils across the state that will absorb any kindergarten funding shortfalls to prevent passing on to parents the higher kindergarten costs that they may be subjected to throughout 2016.