Victorian Premier Daniel Andrew announced that from 2023, families with three- or or four-year-old children won’t pay a cent for kinder, otherwise known as preschool, which is expected to save families $2,500 a child each year.
The state government will also work alongside the NSW government to deliver an additional year of preschool for four-year-olds.
In Victoria, four-year-old children will be able to attend five days a week of what will be known as “pre-prep” by 2025, which will be completely free-of-charge and non-mandatory.
The NSW government plans to implement a similar service called “pre-kindergarten” by 2030.
“In the next 10 years, every child in Victoria and NSW will experience the benefits of a full year of play-based learning before their first year of school,” Victorian premier Daniel Andrews and NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said in a joint statement.
The new year of schooling will be 30 hours a week of play-based learning for all four-year-olds, effectively doubling the amount of free care for kids of this age.
The Victorian government also plans to build 50 new childcare centres in ‘childcare deserts’, which will help reduce the supply shortage of childcare spots.
This follows a week of pre-budget announcements from the NSW government aimed at improving the affordability of early learning and child care.
Affordable childcare gets women back into the workforce
Skyrocketing childcare costs have been eating into household budgets, with the typical household spending up to 20 per cent of income to cover these costs.
There are childcare subsidies at the Federal level but these taper off as household income increases. As a result many, families choose to have one parent or carer to stay at home and look after the children than to return to the workforce. A move that largely affects women, who are more likely to be the primary carer.
“Our childcare system isn’t working for women – in fact, it’s holding them back,” Victorian Minister for Women Gabrielle Williams said.
“Affordable and accessible childcare is vital to giving women more options – meaning they have more economic power and driving gender equality across every aspect of work and life,” she said.