Early Childhood Boost for early learning in the state budget

The AEU has welcomed the additional $3 billion in this year’s state budget to facilitate the expansion of the Free Kinder program for three and four-year-olds in Victoria, including more support for children with additional needs.

This funding includes $1.2bn for ongoing infrastructure development, and $546 million for the continued roll-out of the Best Start, Best Life reforms.

To support play-based learning, there is $1.9m to establish eight new toy libraries, along with further support for existing libraries; $3.6m to fund 150 new bush kinder programs; and $5,000 grants to every kindergarten service to purchase new toys and equipment. 

To support language learning, the budget includes $3.7m for 10 additional bilingual kinders; $23.9m to continue the EC language program; and $3.2m to help refugee families access EC services. 

As a direct result of the advocacy of AEU members, there is also $18 million to better support children with disability or developmental delay. This includes improved access to Pre-School Field Officer services in high-growth areas and for the Specialist Equipment Program.

With this once-in-a-lifetime investment in EC education, the AEU will continue to ensure that members are consulted at every step, and continue to campaign on attraction, retention, quality and inclusion.

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