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Napthine Government’s $20 million kindergarten investment in 38 Victorian communities

Ten Victorian schools will soon be home to brand new children’s early years centres as part of a $20 million investment by the Victorian Coalition Government.

Minister for Children and Early Childhood Development Wendy Lovell congratulated the 38 Victorian communities that recently shared in $20 million in capital grants to build or upgrade local early years facilities.

Lovell said ten of the projects involved the construction of children’s centres on school sites and that such co-location projects enabled children to have a strong, smooth start to school.

“I am delighted that families in these ten Victorian communities will now benefit from having a brand new children’s centre at their local primary school,” Lovell said.

“Bringing schools together with children’s services, including kindergarten, day care, maternal and child health and playgroups, makes sense for families.

“It is not only more convenient for parents, it allows any learning and development problems to be identified and addressed early, while enabling children to move successfully into school,” she said.

The schools that will have a co-located early years service are Westall Primary School, Fawkner Primary School, Robinvale P-12 College, Dandenong Park Primary School, Dandenong West Primary School, Phoenix P-12 College, Thomas Chirnside Primary School, Springvale Rise Primary School, Vermont Primary School and Glenroy West Primary School.

Other projects to benefit from the $20 million in capital grants include large integrated children’s centres in key growth areas including Melton, Epping, Doreen, Ballarat West and Torquay North.

Lovell also called on more Victorian communities to apply for the next round of capital grants, totalling $15 million, that was announced on 18 June 2014.

Local councils, schools, community groups and children’s service providers can apply for five types of grants:

  • Integrated Children’s Centre Grants, worth up to $1.6 million, support the building of brand new centres offering kindergarten, day care, maternal and child health and early childhood intervention services and family services under the one roof;
  • New Early Learning Facilities Grants, worth up to $650,000, support communities to establish new stand-alone early learning facilities to meet demand for kindergarten programs;
  • Early Learning Facility Upgrade Grants, worth up to $350,000, support existing children’s centres to upgrade and extend facilities to meet demand for programs and attract other children’s services, such as maternal and child health, to the centre;
  • Minor Infrastructure Grants, worth up to $10,000 for small refurbishments that will enhance the quality of the kindergarten programs at a service; and
  • Information Technology Grants, worth up to $1,500, to upgrade digital hardware at children’s centres, particularly those in most financial need.

Expressions of interest for major grants close on 11 July, with applications for minor and IT grants closing on 25 July 2014. For the first time, New Early Learning Facilities and Early Learning Facility Upgrades grants will be open to non-government schools, ensuring they too can build or upgrade facilities on school sites.

These grants form part of the Napthine Government’s record investment of $120 million in building and upgrading children’s centres since 2010.

“These capital grants deliver state-of-art infrastructure to parts of Victoria where demand for quality children’s services is strongest,” Lovell said.

“It also generates hundreds of jobs in building, construction and related industries in towns and suburbs right across the state.”

Lovell said this record investment forms the basis of the Napthine Government’s plan to make Victoria a world leader in young children’s learning and development.

“Victoria already leads the nation in early childhood education and care and, by improving access to services, we are making Victoria an even better place for families to raise their children.”

The Victorian Coalition Government has invested $283.1 million in children’s services since 2010, including $32 million in the 2014-15 State Budget.

For more information please visit www.education.vic.gov.au/ecsmanagement/capitalprogram

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