Preschool funding an election issue

A Hume child

Hume families with a passion for preschool should contact the candidates for their local federal seat and tell them to support the funding of kinders.

The Australian Government currently pays for five out of the 15 hours of preschool which children receive in the year before they start school.

The money has helped to give thousands of Australian children a terrific start to their education, but the support from Canberra is scheduled to end after December 2017.

Hume Mayor, Councillor Helen Patsikatheodorou, said it was important that major political parties and all levels of government supported 15 hours of preschool for every child.

“At the moment, the Victorian Government funds 10 hours of preschool per week, and the Australian Government contributes towards an additional five hours,” Cr Patsikatheodorou said.

“There is strong evidence that 15 hours of preschool helps children to later succeed throughout their school life.

“In fact, studies have shown that children in OECD countries achieve better results at high school if they have completed a preschool education.

“Preschool is particularly important in Hume where many families come from disadvantaged backgrounds, and some children speak a language other than English at home.

“The Australian Government has backed universal access to preschool since 2013, and we’d love the major parties to pledge their ongoing support to this vital year of childhood education.”

Hume City Council has employed more than 40 additional educators to help deliver the 15 hour preschool program.

Cr Patsikatheodorou said she was concerned that many families in Hume would be affected if the Australian Government failed to maintain its assistance in aid of preschool.

“If funding is not continued after 2017, Hume City Council will face a shortfall of at least $1.7 million per year,” she said.

“In the event that this gap was passed on through preschool fees, families could be asked to pay an extra $1,000 each year for a place at kinder.

“Many families in Hume would simply not be able to afford this extra amount, and we don’t want any child to miss out on their crucial year at preschool.”

Hume City Council has produced Fund 5 Hours Preschool postcards, through which families can show their enthusiasm for universal access to kinder.

The postcards will be handed out to parents at preschool centres across the municipality.

Cr Patsikatheodorou said it was essential that parents expressed their interest in 15 hours of preschool per week, per child.

“It has made such a difference since 2013, and now is the time to permanently establish universal access for future generations,” she said.

People can call on the major parties to support an Australian Government fund for preschool past 2017 at www.hume.vic.gov.au/advocacy

Posted on 12:00 AM, 25 May 2016


Updated : 9:08 AM, 25 May 2016

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