My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Children and Early Childhood Development.
It is in relation to state and federal funding for Victorian kindergartens and the national agreement of 15 hours of kindergarten for every child.
It really is extremely disappointing to have to raise the possible notion of the reduction of the current 15 hours of kinder per child per week back to 10 hours per week.
I know that every member on this side of the chamber shares this sense of disappointment, and it baffles me that those opposite could think differently.
However, this issue is upon us because the federal and state Liberal governments are looking to tear up this important agreement of 15 hours per child and cut kinder hours.
It has been reported in news articles on the subject in recent times that many are saying that this possibility of a cutback will compromise the education of young people, leaving them less prepared for their entry into primary school.
It will threaten jobs that were created when the hours were increased to 15 last year, and it will undermine the millions of dollars that have been spent upgrading and redeveloping kinders in the recent past to accommodate for the increase in hours last year.
A number of stakeholders in my electorate, including parents, kindergarten teachers, school principals and local council representatives, are united in their voice of opposition.
They have made their views quite clear locally, with quotes such as:
We are quite devastated that we may be offering only 10 hours a week …
It is going to significantly affect staff across a lot of centres …
Right across the board, from every angle that you look at it, there are significant disadvantages …
Any reduction in funding is likely to result in families having to fund the gap or miss out …
Another person said:
It would a retrograde step — a dumb move — to go back to 10 hours …
The action I am seeking is for the minister to provide me with information her department must have, namely, the analysis of how kindergarten funding being cut from 15 to 10 hours per week will affect every kindergarten in Western Victoria Region with respect to job cuts and educational outcomes for young people.