The federal government has been challenged over changes to childcare arrangements, which may result in Victorian parents being unable to send their three-year-olds to kindergarten-style care.
A motion by Liberal member Alan Tudge asking the government to give more flexibility to kindergarten operators was passed in the lower house on Thursday, with the support of independent MPs Rob Oakeshott, Bob Katter and Tony Windsor.
Tudge’s motion said the government’s mandate for “four-year-old kindergartens” to have a university-qualified educator teach for 15 hours a week would affect many Victorian services that offered kindergarten to younger children.
The mandated hours meant facilities could no longer be shared between services for three-year-olds and those for children a year older.
Tudge said some rural kindergartens were at risk of closing because there was a shortage of qualified staff in their area.
Also, the increase in hours meant teachers could no longer be shared between kindergartens.
Tudge said this combined to make an “imminent crisis” for Victoria’s kindergartens.
The motion is non-binding on the government.
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