It’s almost as if the early childhood education and care system has been designed to work against working families. That’s why we are getting on with delivering our Best Start, Best Life reforms to set Victorian kids up for the future, support women back into work and reduce cost-of-living pressures for families.
Fees are so high they are crippling family budgets – and that’s if you can find a place. At the same time, workers are crying out for extra support to keep working in the industry they love.
It shouldn't be this hard. That’s why we’ve delivered Three-Year-Old Kinder – with every Victorian now able to benefit. And it’s why we’re making kinder free for every three and four-year-old from next year.
But we know there’s more to do. A re-elected Andrews Labor Government will build and run 50 new low-cost childcare centres, build more kinders, establish a workforce package to tackle skills shortages and roll out 30 hours of Pre-Prep across the state.
Labor will establish 50 new government-owned and operated early education centres in the communities that need them most. And with no time to waste, we’re announcing the first 30 locations – with a fast-tracked four childcare centres in Eaglehawk North, Fawkner, Murtoa and Sunshine.
Opening in 2025, the first four centres will deliver childcare, kindergarten, and eventually Pre-Prep and – where possible – other early childhood services. They will be co-located at Eaglehawk North Primary School, Moomba Park Primary School, Murtoa College and Sunshine Primary School.
This means more childcare places where they’re needed, while also saving parents from the dreaded double drop-off. The next 26 services will be in or near:
We’ll invest $584 million across the 50 services – with all of them to be up and running by 2028.
And because only Labor will back our incredible early childhood educators, we’ll invest $159 million as part of a major workforce package – to attract, retain, and develop talented and dedicated professionals.
Labor will help more Victorians kickstart a new career, with 700 extra early childhood scholarships – worth between $12,000 to $34,000 – available to people looking to become early childhood teachers through undergraduate degree pathways.
We’ll also deliver extra incentives of between $9,000 and $50,000 for teachers and educators moving into, or re-joining, the sector and for priority services in places that struggle to find qualified staff.
It’s an investment that will mean more Victorians can take up a rewarding career educating our kids, while ensuring a great start for our little ones.
Matthew Guy’s Liberals can’t be trusted with our kids’ futures. Last time they were in government, they cut $1 billion from education and early childhood. And as a personal advisor to Jeff Kennett, Matthew Guy oversaw the Liberals' cuts to Victoria’s nurseries – hurting young Victorians and their families.
Quotes attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews:
“Our childcare centres will mean a high-quality, low-cost option for the communities that need it most. Most importantly, it’ll give parents certainty and kids the bright start they deserve.”
“It’s an investment that just makes sense: setting our little ones up for the future – and helping more families juggle the cost and complexity of child-care.”
“It’ll mean more opportunities for our kids to play, learn and make friends, and one less headache for their parents.”
Quotes attributable to Minister for Early Childhood and Pre-Prep Ingrid Stitt
“You just can't trust Matthew Guy’s Liberals with our kids’ future. They cut and they close and they just don’t care.”
“Labor is doing what matters – making kinder free, easing pressure on household budgets and giving every Victorian child the best start, for the best life.”
“Our early childhood educators do an incredible job. We’ll back their work with more opportunities to upskill, retrain and start a new career.”
Quotes attributable to Member for Narre Warren South Gary Maas:
“Labor will keep delivering for our local area with this commitment of a new early learning centre in or near Hampton Park/Lynbrook. This is on top of commitments towards Grices Road Recreation Reserve pavilion upgrade, Lyndhurst Secondary College upgrade and modernisation, a new Casey Central Primary School, and refurbishment of Hampton Park Tennis Club pavilion.”
“Early learning is so important to many local families and the new centre as well as free 3 and 4 year old kinder from 2023 is securing the services that our kids and parents need.”
“It was a pleasure to catch up with the Premier at the local announcement of this state-wide program as he understands the needs of the growing south-east and Labor will keep creating opportunities for the area.”