My constituency question is directed to the Minister for Education and Minister for the Coordination of Education and Training: COVID-19, the Honourable James Merlino, MP.
The Andrews Labor government is repairing, expanding and building new kinders so every child can access funded three-year-old kinder as the groundbreaking program rolls out across the state.
Thirteen projects across Victoria that will share in more than $13.8 million in the first round of capacity grants under the Building Blocks program have been announced, with a further 784 IT grants worth $1 million also announced this week.
Together the projects will create new kinder places as well as boosting local jobs and local businesses as these areas rebuild from the economic impacts of coronavirus.
The Building Blocks program will create additional places—as well as improve facilities and access to technology—for three- and four-year-old kinder providers across Victoria.
Grants are available to local governments and not-for-profit organisations delivering a funded kindergarten program.
This is part of the Labor government’s $5 billion investment in funded universal three-year-old kinder for all Victorian children—in an Australian first.
My question to the minister is: can the minister confirm if any kinders in my area of Western Metropolitan Region are a part of this program?
The Minister for Early Childhood: I am advised that:
The Andrews Labor Government will invest more than $1.68 billion over the next decade, in partnership with the sector, to support the building and upgrading of kindergarten facilities across Victoria. In the 2019–20 State Budget, the Government commenced this investment by allocating $473.2 million for early childhood infrastructure. In May 2020, the Building
Works package provided a further $27.75 million towards the new Building Blocks grants program, assisting the infrastructure component of funded universal Three-Year-Old Kinder.
Since 2014, the Government has invested over $30 million in early childhood infrastructure in the Western Metropolitan Region to support building 19 new kindergartens and upgrading 9 existing services. Most recently, in 2019-20, this included funding of $1,000,000 to support a New Early Learning Facility, KU Maidstone Children’s Centre, Maidstone.
To complement this historic investment, the Government recently announced more than $200,000 in IT grants to existing kindergartens in the Western Metropolitan Region, which
will support access to the latest technology to deliver high quality kindergarten services.
I thank the member for her strong advocacy for early childhood services in her community.