The Municipal Association of Victoria has backed a call from the Council of Australian Governments to lock in long-term federal funding for kindergartens.
Federal funding for kindergartens is currently given on a year-to-year basis under the National Partnership on Universal Access to Early Childhood Education but a long-term arrangement is not yet in place.
Victoria’s early years education model is built on a partnership between all three levels of government and has resulted in high participation rates.
Funding through this partnership was based on evidence about the benefits of early childhood education prior to children attending primary school and the evidence has grown stronger since.
The Municipal Association of Victoria says the continual short-term funding arrangements have made it difficult for governments, councils, and kindergartens to plan and provide services.
President Coral Ross said childhood education providers deserved the security that came with long-term funding.
“Long-term funding under the National Partnership on Universal Access to Early Childhood Education is vital to provide security to kindergartens, councils, young families and the community,” she said.
“There is an opportunity for the Australian Government to cement its funding for early childhood education and create better outcomes for our children.
“Long-term funding security is critical to ensure all children have access to an uninterrupted, high quality kindergarten education they need and deserve.”
Mitchell Shire Mayor David Lowe said kindergarten programs were an important service and council recognised the positive impact they had on children, families and the community.
“We work in partnership with both the State and Federal governments in order to provide many services, including our kindergarten programs and appreciate the funding support we receive. We also work in partnership with private providers to offer these services in some instances,” he said.
“The matter of kindergarten funding has been an outstanding matter for many years that needs to be resolved by the State and Federal governments.
“We support the MAV advocacy and our community can be assured that we will continue to provide and enhance kindergarten programs.”
City of Whittlesea manager family and children’s services Wendy Castles said federal funding was critical to ensure children have access to 15 hours of education a week.
“Continual short-term funding arrangements make it extremely difficult for councils and kindergartens to plan for demand, as it impacts planning for facilities, workforce retention and timetabling of programs and the uncertainty of program costs for the community,” she said.
“Research shows that quality early childhood education results in positive long-term educational and social outcomes for all children, particularly those most vulnerable or socially disadvantaged.”