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$2,000 per child: Free kindergarten for Victoria in 2021

Jessica Yun
·2-min read
(Source: Getty, AAP)
(Source: Getty, AAP)

Every single parent in the state of Victoria will receive free kindergarten next year, as well as more out-of-school-hours care, Premier Daniel Andrews has announced.

The new measure, announced as part of the 2020-21 Victorian Budget, is aimed at saving parents around $2,000 per child as well as help put more women back to work.

The State Government will offer subsidies to early childhood services that offer funded kindergarten programs, which will see four-year-olds and some three-year-olds eligible for the scheme.

And families who have children enrolled in kinder programs at long day care centres will also stand to save around $2,000, according to Andrews.

The new measures which will cost the state shy of $170 million will also be “reduce fees” for families who have children attending unfunded three-year-old kinder programs.

The availability of before- and after-school care will also be increased in order to give parents more flexibility around work: grants of as much as $75,000 will be given to 400 government schools that want to start a new outside-hours school care program.

Premier Daniel Andrews said women had been hit hardest by the pandemic.

“Real recovery means making sure they’re supported back into work – and the security and stability that affords,” he said.

“This investment is dedicated to making the daily juggle of work, school and kinder just that little bit easier.”

In Labor Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese’s budget reply, a plan for free childcare was at the centre, with some families estimated to save as much as $2,900.

An extra $5 billion a year spent on childcare would yield an $11 billion increase in GDP from extra workforce participation and a $150,000 lifetime earnings boost for the typical Aussie mother, according to earlier research from thinktank Grattan Institute.

Alison Pennington, senior economist at Australia Institute’s Centre for Future Work, believes free public childcare could be key to economic recovery, and create 50,000 new jobs, secure another 160,000, and create 6,500 construction jobs.

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