Victoria’s Budget delivered to mixed reviews from ECEC sector
The Sector > Workforce > Advocacy > Victoria’s Budget delivered to mixed reviews from ECEC sector

Victoria’s Budget delivered to mixed reviews from ECEC sector

by Freya Lucas

May 09, 2024

The Victorian Government has released its 2024/25 Budget which has received a mixed reception from the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector. 


Specifically the delay of the gradual rollout of Pre-Prep, part of the Best Start, Best Life reforms, due to extensive workforce shortages in the sector drew comment, with an additional 11,000 Early Childhood Professionals required to deliver Free Kinder and Pre-Prep, along with a lack of support for TAFE. Free Kinder will continue to rollout as scheduled.


As a result the reform will be adjusted to be completed over a 15 year time frame, with a revised aim that by 2036 children in all locations across Victoria will have access to up to 30 hours of Pre-Prep.


The Victorian Labor Government’s 24-25 Budget reaffirms its commitment to the Best Start, Best Life kindergarten reforms. Simultaneously, the government acknowledges the pressing need for quality staff and infrastructure development in Early Childhood Education and Care. These factors have led to adjustments in the program rollout timeline,” Andrew Cameron, CEO of the Early Learning Association Australia said.


“We appreciate the government moving to address the workforce shortages and acknowledge the impact this will have on the reform’s timeline.”

“We understand that there will be a diverse set of responses to this change from our members,” he continued. 

“For some, there may be a level of disappointment. ELAA will continue to proactively advise the Department of Education on how the reforms impact our members, highlighting insights we have collated. We strongly encourage our members to continue to engage with us, expressing their voices more effectively, and actively contributing to ELAA’s advocacy efforts.”


ELAA welcomed the further investment of $128.6 million into the reforms over the next 12 months. 


For Early Learning and Care Council of Australia (ELACCA) CEO Elizabeth Death the Budget announcement was a welcomed one, who commended the Victorian Government on its ongoing nation-leading reform in early learning and care. 


‘ELACCA notes the delayed implementation timetable for the Best Start, Best Life reforms and acknowledges the importance of a strong early childhood workforce to deliver quality outcomes for children,” she said. 


“ELACCA looks forward to working with the Department of Education and sector colleagues to ensure an efficient roll-out of quality kinder and Pre-Prep programs across Victoria.’ Ms Death said.


The Australian Education Union Victorian Branch expressed disappointment in the “lack of progressive investment” in public education in the 2024–25 State Budget, with Branch President Meredith Peace calling on the state government to meaningfully address the TAFE teacher workforce shortage crisis, and fund TAFEs for the full cost of course delivery.


“If Victoria wants to flourish and address the skills shortages we currently confront, we need TAFE. There is barely enough funding in this state budget to help TAFE to tread water,” she said. 


“Without TAFE teachers, we won’t have the tradies, early childhood educators, aged care and disability workers that we need.”


For The Sector’s review of the budget please see here

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