Kindy will be free for Queensland families from 1 January 2024 thanks to a $645 million budget boost. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk today announced the investment, which will help Queensland children to access early childhood education and support parents in their return to work.
The reform is set to save families around $4,600 per year, putting money back in the pockets of mums, dads, and carers where it’s needed.
Currently 14,000 children receive free kindy, which is a 15 hour a week government approved educational program that children can attend the year before they start school. The additional funding means more than 50,000 additional children will be able to attend for free.
Cairns mother Farrah Miller said her family would be feeling the relief of sending their children to kindy without the financial burden.
“Kindy is an invaluable resource to us. It allows us to work knowing our children are in safe learning environments which help to develop them as young people and as learners,” she said.
Queenslanders were asked what they thought about free kindy last month, which saw over 6,400 people responding to the survey.
98% said free kindy would help them and their family.
Education Minister Grace Grace said she was proud to be bringing free kindy to Queensland.
“This is going to change the lives of thousands of children and families every single year,” she said.
“I have travelled around the state to hear from parents and services directly and read the responses to our survey. It’s clear free kindy makes a massive difference and that’s why we’re making it happen for every family in our state.”
The additional $645 million will take the total investment in kindergarten to $2 billion over four years. It includes increasing the funds to attract and retain a quality workforce to $120 million, with a portion specifically dedicated to getting staff to kindy services in regional and remote areas by providing things like relocation expenses and accommodation assistance.
There is also an extra $15 million to boost support for children with disability and additional needs, taking the total to $91 million.
Ongoing funding is committed beyond the forward estimates to ensure kindy remains free for everyone. The government will now work closely with the sector so they are ready for the expected higher number of enrolments in January 2024.
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