Ministerial visit checks new build progress and launches Children’s Facilities Capital Program
Victorian Government Ministers visited the Pakenham based factory of Grove Group on Friday last week to review the progress made on the construction of nine new modular kindergarten buildings, currently being built as part of the Andrews Labor Government commitment to roll out Universal Access to all three year olds across the state.
Victorian Minister for Education James Merlino, Parliamentary Secretary for Early Childhood Sonya Kilkenny and Member for Bass Jordan Crugnale were part of the visiting party. The Universal Access roll out forms part of the $473.2 million investment from the Victorian Budget 2019/20 to work with the sector to build and expand the kinder facilities needed for the state-wide roll-out of 3-year-old kinder.
During the visit the Government representatives also launched the 2019-20 Children’s Facilities Capital Program (CFCP), with applications open to local councils and other kindergarten services for grants to build, expand and improve early years facilities.
Major grants of up to $2 million are available for new facilities or significant upgrades to Victorian Kindergarten programs, while minor grants of up to $50,000 are available for expansions and refurbishments of existing facilities.
More than 100 workers and subcontractors are working on seven modular buildings, which are set for completion this month, while a further two modular buildings are in construction in Bendigo and Campbellfield. In total, modular kindergarten buildings will accommodate almost 500 early learning places for children.
The use of modular buildings will help deliver high-quality kindergarten infrastructure that can be flexibly deployed based on demand and in partnership with local government or other providers.
The roll-out of three-year-old kindergarten will start next year in six local government areas – Buloke, Hindmarsh, Northern Grampians, South Gippsland, Strathbogie and Yarriambiack. In 2021, three-year-olds in an additional 15 local government areas will be able to access two years of subsidised kindergarten programs.
From 2022, children across the rest of the state will have access to five hours of three-year old kindergarten programs each week. This will be progressively scaled up to reach the full 15-hour program by 2029.
Victorian Minister for Education, James Merlino, described the implementation of Universal Access as “life changing” for children and families, adding that the newly constructed modular units would ensure the Government had capacity to meet demand for places.
Member for Bass, Jordan Crugnale, said it was great to see a local business involved in the construction, as this meant jobs in the area were supported.
For more information about the available Grants, please see here.