State Labor Member for Narre Warren South Judith Graley has called on the Abbott Government to continue funding 15 hours of kindergarten for four year olds.

Ms Graley was today joined by City of Casey Councillor Wayne Smith at Hallam Community Learning Centre to meet with children who may miss out on kindergarten next year.

Under a National Partnership Agreement, the states fund 10 hours of four-year-old kindergarten and the Federal Government funds five hours. However, the agreement is set to expire at the end of this year.

While Victoria has committed to continuing funding 10 hours of kindergarten, the Federal Government has not committed to maintaining its share of the National Partnership Agreement.

Ms Graley said that the failure of the Abbott Government to commit to funding five hours of kindergarten was creating unneeded stress and anxiety for local families and kindergarten providers.

“Local families are already struggling to access affordable and reliable childcare for their children,”

“Without this support many will be faced with additional childcare costs that will place further pressure on the already stressed household budget,”

“Our kids will miss out and their parents will have no choice but to either cut back on their working hours or find additional child care elsewhere,”

“I urge the Abbott Government to step up and provide a long term commitment to funding 15 hours of kindergarten for our children.”

Dianne Wilson, Manager of Hallam Community Learning Centre said that many local families including some of her own staff were concerned about how they would cope without this support.

“Many parents have planned their lives around childcare and work, yet they’re now facing an uncertain future,”

“Kindergarten is vital to a child’s future development and prepares them for school, whilst also giving parents a short break each week,”

“We should be encouraging local families to enrol their children in kindergarten, not taking away the very support they need to give their children the best start in life.”

Cr Wayne Smith said that the City of Casey is Victoria’s most populous city and one of the fastest growing in the country.

“Access to kindergarten is vital to our young people and their families,”

“There is no doubt that access to at least 15 hours of kindergarten is vital to the development of children.”