STATE Labor will have to build more kinders in Bendigo if it is re-elected and rolls out a plan to deliver to every Victorian child 15 hours of three-year-old kinder a week.
Announcing the $5 billion election pledge yesterday, the party plans to deliver a subsidised program in six rural local government areas that have the facilities to meet the demand by 2020.
Thereafter, shires including Central Goldfields and Campaspe which neighbour Bendigo, will benefit.
But in Bendigo, parents are often unable to find the early learning program because kinders are full delivering the mandatory four-year-old curriculum which is subsidised for many families.
Available three-year-old kinder can be expensive.
Bendigo East MP Jacinta Allan said Labor’s plan would include at least five hours of subsidised early learning for children by 2022, to be progressively scaled up to 15 hours a week over the next decade.
Around one quarter of Victorian families would pay nothing at all, and the state government would cover 65 per cent of preschool costs for those on higher incomes.
The scheme would benefit about 80,000 Victorian children.
The state government has described the announcement as “the largest social, economic and educational reform ever undertaken in early childhood learning in Victoria’s history”.
Its intention is to give children an extra year of education, preparing them better for school.