Investing in Western Victorian kids when it matters most

Children in Western Victoria will be given the best start in life, with the Andrews Government delivering ground-breaking change to our kindergartens and early childhood services.

The Victorian Budget 2017/18 will invest $202.1 million to deliver better early childhood services, as well as early intervention for kids who need extra support.

Research shows that children who have a stimulating, supportive and healthy start to life are more likely to do well later in life, while children who attend kinder score between 10 and 20 points higher on NAPLAN tests.

The Labor Member for Western Victoria, Jaala Pulford, said the funding includes $87.1 million to improve kindergartens and make sure every child gets the start they need before they begin school.

“Kindergarten staff will now be able to access intensive coaching, training and advice, so our kinder kids can be in even better hands,” she said.

Additionally, in an Australian first, our kinders will receive an extra $55 million to help children who are facing particular challenges, including speech therapy, and literacy and numeracy support,” Ms Pulford said.

Recognising the importance of a child’s earliest years, $81.1 million will extend Maternal and Child Health Services (MCH) and give new parents extra support, in addition to:

  • $7.2 million to support children with special needs to access early intervention services.
  • $6.3 million to grow the Early Start Kindergarten program for vulnerable children aged 3 years old.
  • $5.4 million to support Koorie parents and children.
  • $5 million to help children with special needs access kindergarten.

Ms Pulford said the Early Childhood Reform Plan is a key part of the Education State for early years and supports the Government’s Roadmap for Reform: Strong Families, Safe Children.

“We know the first few years can shape a child’s entire life and by investing earlier, we’re giving our youngest Victorians the very best start,” Ms Pulford said.

“Under these changes, if a child is struggling, we’ll be able to get them the support they need sooner,” she said.