13 June 2023
The Early Learning and Care Council of Australia (ELACCA) congratulates the Queensland Government on its $645m investment in free kindergarten announced in the 2023-24 State Budget today.
This signifies a historic step in Queensland’s kindergarten funding reforms, and will bring the Queensland Government’s total kindy investment to $2 billion over the next four years.
Through the investment, kindy will be free for eligible-aged children, who attend a government-approved program offering free kindy, from 1 January 2024. All kindergartens will have the opportunity to offer free kindy.
Key features of Queensland’s free kindergarten program include:
- Funding for 15 hours a week in a government-approved kindergarten program, or 600 hours of free kindy a year, delivered by a qualified early childhood teacher.
- Availability to families regardless of whether they attend a community kindergarten or kindergarten in long day care.
Free kindy from 2024 will remove cost as a barrier to participation and increase the opportunity for more children to receive the lifelong benefits of a quality early learning program. Extending free kindy for all Queensland children means more than 50,000 additional children will attend kindy for free in 2024.
‘Increased public investment in early learning is precisely the right policy for the times,’ said Elizabeth Death, CEO of ELACCA.
‘Boosting early learning funding will help to deliver the “triple dividend” that we need.’
‘For parents, this means affordable kindy that enables them to work; for employers, the policy generates a greater pool of willing employees.’
‘Most importantly, greater funding gives children better access to a quality early learning program, delivered by a qualified early childhood teacher, which sets them up for a life of learning and achievement.’
To support the sector, the investment from the Queensland Government also includes:
- an increase to $120m in funds to attract and retain a quality workforce, with a portion targeting support for staff in regional and remote areas.
- $20m boost to the Kindy Uplift program, which provides resources and professional development to services where children are more likely to experience disadvantage.
- an extra $15 million to boost support for children with disability and additional needs, taking the total to $91 million.
“This significant investment in early childhood education will help to provide the best possible start for children in Queensland,” Ms Death said.
ELACCA looks forward to working with the Queensland Government, and Department of Education in the implementation of the Free Kindy program, to commence on 1 January 2024.
For more information please contact:
Early Learning and Care Council of Australia (ELACCA)
PO Box 348
Annandale NSW 2038
Mob: 0498 228 762
The Early Learning and Care Council of Australia (ELACCA) was established to promote the value of quality early learning and care as an integral part of Australia’s education system.
Our 19 CEO members include some of the largest early learning providers in the country, representing both not-for-profit and for-profit services. ELACCA members operate 1,984 long day care services, 310 preschool/kindergarten services and 92 OSHC services, covering every state and territory. They offer one-quarter of all the long day care places in Australia. Together, our members serve 369,776 children and their families, and employ more than 56,708 staff.
As well as promoting the value of quality early learning and the need for greater public investment, ELACCA advocates for the right of all children to access quality early learning and care, particularly children facing disadvantage. We do this by drawing on the knowledge and practical experience of our members and representing their views to decision makers in government, the media and the public.