20 November 2022

It's almost as if the early childhood education and care system has been designed to work against working families. That’s why we are getting on with delivering our Best Start, Best Life reforms to set Victorian kids up for the future, support women back into work and reduce cost-of-living pressures for families.

Fees are so high they are crippling family budgets – and that’s if you can find a place, particularly in our regions where childcare services are few and far between. At the same time, workers are crying out for extra support to keep working in the industry they love.

It’s why a re-elected Andrews Labor Government will make sure kids in Loddon, Clunes-Creswick and Maryborough have the very best start in life with a new low-cost, government-owned and operated childcare centre in each location.

Work on the package is already underway – with the first centres to open in 2025.

The three new childcare centres form part of the first 30 of 50 new centres a re-elected Labor Government will build – alongside our plans to make kinder free for all three- and four-year-olds, build more kinders, support our hardworking early childhood workforce and roll out 30 hours of Pre-Prep across the state.

This $584 million investment will mean more childcare places where they’re needed, while also saving parents from the dreaded double drop-off – because, where possible, they’ll be located on or next door to local primary school sites.

And with 90 per cent of a child’s brain developing before the age of five, we’ll also deliver Pre-Prep: with four-year-old kinder transitioning to a universal 30-hour a week program of play-based learning for every four-year-old child over the next decade.

And because only Labor will back our incredible early childhood educators, we’ll invest $159 million as part of a major workforce package – to attract, retain, and develop talented and dedicated professionals.

Labor will help more Victorians kickstart a new career, with 700 extra early childhood scholarships – worth between $12,000 to $34,000 – available to people looking to become early childhood teachers through undergraduate degree pathways. 

We’ll also deliver extra incentives of between $9,000 and $50,000 for teachers and educators moving into, or re-joining, the sector and for priority services in places that struggle to find qualified staff.

It’s an investment that will mean more Victorians can take up a rewarding career educating our kids, while ensuring a great start for our little ones.

Matthew Guy’s Liberals can’t be trusted with our kids’ futures. Last time they were in government, they cut $1 billion from education and early childhood. And as a personal advisor to Jeff Kennett, Matthew Guy oversaw the Liberals' cuts to Victoria’s nurseries – hurting young Victorians and their families.

Only Labor will invest in better outcomes for kids and families in Rippon – because only Labor will do what matters.

Quotes attributable to Labor Candidate for Ripon Martha Haylett

“Families across our rural and regional communities have struggled to find local childcare for too long. Labor is putting an end to that – stepping in to give our kids a great early education, supporting our childcare workers, and getting parents back into the workforce.”

“As a proud aunty, I’ve seen how much and how quickly our little ones learn. That’s why I’m so proud Labor will deliver Pre-Prep to local kids first, helping ensure our young Victorians get a great start in life."