More kinders and upgraded early years facilities are on the way for Victorian families and their children – including in Diggers Rest – thanks to the Andrews Labor Government.

Minister for Early Childhood Education Jenny Mikakos and Member for Sunbury Josh Bull today announced a major boost for the Diggers Rest Kindergarten, which is getting a $1.3 million upgrade as part of the 2018-19 Children’s Facilities Capital Program.

The Labor Government is putting $350,000 to the expansion, along with $979,000 from the City of Melton, to extend the existing learning space and create more three- and four-year-old kinder places.

It is one of more than 50 projects to be funded through this capital funding round across the state, delivering top class early facilities so children can make the most out of their early years education.

It comes as the Labor Government is moving to build 785 new kinders and upgrade 170 more as part of its almost $5 billion three-year-old kinder reform.

Under a re-elected Andrews Labor Government, every Victorian child will have access to at least five hours of subsidised three-year-old kinder by 2022, progressively scaled up to 15 hours per week over the next decade.

Twenty-one local government areas will be among the first to benefit, with Ararat, Buloke, Hindmarsh, Northern Grampians, Yarriambiack, Central Goldfields, Hepburn, Southern Grampians and West Wimmera councils all included in the initial rollout between 2020 and 2021.

It represents good news for families struggling with the cost of living. Right now, many are forced to scrimp and save to cover the costs of three-year-old kinder – around $5000 a year for 15 hours – while the vast majority see their kids miss out. But under Labor’s plan, around a quarter of Victorian families will pay nothing at all.

For families with a higher income, the Labor Government will cover 65 per cent of their child’s kindergarten costs, consistent with the current subsidy for four-year-old kinder. This represents a saving of at least $3500 for families whose children attend a standalone kinder.

The introduction of three-year-old kinder will be the biggest early education reform in Victoria’s history.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Early Childhood Education Jenny Mikakos

We’ve promised to rollout three-year-old kinder and we’re backing it up, undertaking the biggest early education build our state has ever seen.”

“Only Labor will make sure local kids get the opportunities they deserve.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Sunbury Josh Bull

“We know that early learning sets kids up for the best possible start in life.”

“Whether you live in Diggers Rest, Melbourne or Mildura, we’re determined to ensure all kids are ready for school and ready for life with three-year-old kinder, new kinders and kinder upgrades right across the state.”

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