The Victorian Government is building and investing in infrastructure to support the roll-out of universal kindergarten for all three-year-olds in the state.
Victorian Minister for Education James Merlino, Parliamentary Secretary for Early Childhood Sonya Kilkenny and Member for Bass Jordan Crugnale visited the Pakenham factory of Australian-owned company Grove Group to see the progress of nine new modular kindergarten buildings currently in construction.
It’s part of the record $473.2 million investment from the Victorian Budget 2019/20 to work with the sector to build and expand the kinder facilities needed for the state-wide roll-out of 3-year-old kinder.
They also launched the 2019-20 Children’s Facilities Capital Program (CFCP), with applications open to local councils and other kindergarten services for grants to build, expand and improve early years facilities.
Major grants of up to $2 million are available for new facilities or significant upgrades, while minor grants of up to $50,000 are available for expansions and refurbishments of existing facilities.
More than 100 workers and subcontractors are working on seven modular buildings, which are set for completion this month, while a further two modular buildings are in construction in Bendigo and Campbellfield. In total, modular kindergarten buildings will accommodate almost 500 early learning places for children.
The use of modular buildings will help deliver high-quality kindergarten infrastructure that can be flexibly deployed based on demand and in partnership with local government or other providers.
The roll-out of three-year-old kindergarten will start next year in six local government areas – Buloke, Hindmarsh, Northern Grampians, South Gippsland, Strathbogie and Yarriambiack. In 2021, three-year-olds in an additional 15 local government areas will be able to access two years of subsidised kindergarten programs.
From 2022, children across the rest of the state will have access to five hours of three-year old kindergarten programs each week. This will be progressively scaled up to reach the full 15-hour program by 2029.
Source: Vic Government