That’s why we’re delivering the $14 billion Best Start, Best Life reforms, which will transform early education in our state.
In 2018, we announced funded Three-Year-Old Kindergarten, a nation-leading reform. Thanks to a remarkable collaborative effort (including by local governments and service providers) to plan, deliver and improve early childhood infrastructure - this is now available state-wide. Funded hours for Three-Year-Old Kindergarten will continue growing to a full program of 15 hours per week for every child by 2029.
Victoria now offers children the opportunity to attend two years of kindergarten for free. This is a permanent, evidence-based change that will have significant benefits for many children throughout their schooling and beyond, and save families thousands of dollars.
The gradual transition to Pre-Prep - between 2025 and 2032 - will double the funded hours available for four-year-olds from 15 to 30, and we’re building 50 government-owned and operated Early Learning and Childcare Centres (ELCCs) to help families access childcare, kindergarten and other services for families and children.
A key feature of this expanded strategy is the Victorian Government’s increased role in kindergarten infrastructure. So far, we’ve committed to building 180 new kindergartens on or close to schools, and 50 state-run, affordable ELCCs in areas of need.
We’re also providing additional support to our sector partners, including local governments, not-for-profit providers and non-government schools to deliver infrastructure for their communities. We have significantly increased grant rates, including doubling the funding for new builds and committed $282 million in the 2023-24 budget to supporting kindergartens on non-government schools. We have also increased grants to our sector partners to upgrade or refurbish their existing facilities.
We look forward to working with you - our sector partners - on future iterations of this strategy as the reforms evolve, together finding the most effective ways to develop a system that gives Victorian children, families and communities a bright future.
Hon Lizzie Blandthorn MP
Minister for Children