Ms VAGHELA (Western Metropolitan): My constituency question is directed to the Deputy Premier and Minister for Education, the Honourable James Merlino. The Andrews Labor government is making it easier for Victorian families to secure a place in kindergarten for their child by supporting councils to provide a one-stop shop for kindergarten enrolments.
Across the state, 47 local government areas have been awarded central enrolment administrative support grants, thanks to a $5.5 million budget commitment made by the Andrews Labor government. Central enrolment systems allow parents to register their interest in enrolling their child in more than one kindergarten service in one place without having to work through the different processes used by individual service providers. My question to the minister is: can he advise what impact this important initiative will have for parents of young children in the Western Metropolitan Region?
Mr MERLINO (Monbulk—Minister for Education) (6 February 2020):
Participation in kindergarten plays a vital role in establishing a strong foundation for lifelong learning, wellbeing and success. The Andrews Labor Government recognises central enrolment is a key opportunity to support kindergarten participation, particularly for families experiencing vulnerability and disadvantage.
The 2017-18 State Budget committed $5.5 million over four years to expand and enhance central enrolment, including ongoing funding of $1.12 million per annum (commencing in 2019-20) for administrative support grants to continue the ongoing operating costs of central enrolment schemes.
A total of $102,000 in grant funding has been awarded to local councils in the Western Metropolitan region in 2019-20. Individual grant amounts are as follows:
Hobson’s Bay City $18,000
Maribyrnong City $18,000
Melbourne City $6000
Moonee Valley City $18,000
Wyndham City $42,000
Every local government area in the Western Metropolitan Region has a central enrolment scheme, covering a range of kindergarten services make it easier for families to secure a kindergarten place without having to work through the different processes used by individual service providers. Central enrolment simplifies the enrolment process for parents, supports the engagement of vulnerable families and enables local councils to track demand, helping to ensure that all children have access to a place at kindergarten.
The $5.5 million invested in central enrolment is supported by an additional $700,000 allocated in the 2019-20 Budget to support local councils to enrol three-year-old children in kindergarten, in with the planned roll-out of funded Three-Year-Old Kindergarten across the State.