Mr HOWARD (Buninyong) — Last week the Andrews Labor government committed to investing up to $83.7 million over the next four years in additional funding to support kindergartens to transition to the new, improved staff-to-child ratios that come into effect on 1 January next year. The funding is aimed at local government and community-based services offering sessional kindergarten programs to groups of 23 or more. These services will receive an additional $370 per child in 2016 and approximately $380 per child in 2017. From 1 January next year the educator-to-child ratio that applies in all centre-based services will be 1 educator to 11 children for three-year-olds, compared to the current requirement of 1 to 15.
This is a great improvement. It will allow staff to give more individual care and attention to children, and the additional funding will support kinders with the cost of hiring additional educators while maintaining or increasing their enrolments next year. The Andrews Labor government is encouraging all service providers to consider the needs of local families and accept enrolments up to their available capacity. The additional funding announced by the Andrews Labor government will support local kinders and preschools across my electorate to transition to the new ratios in 2016 and 2017. Unfortunately a matter of great concern is that the Abbott federal government still has not committed to the 15 hours.