Media Centre

Funding for BIRCH

The Ballarat community has received $150,000 for BIRCH, the Ballarat Innovation and Research Collaboration for Health as part of the Victorian Government’s ongoing commitment to support regional communities through the impacts of coronavirus. Member for Wendouree, Ms Juliana Addison, today announced the additional funding for the project, which is among a suite of shovel-ready initiatives expedited to support economic and social renewal across rural and regional Victoria. BIRCH is ideally placed to assist their Ballarat health service, university and industry partners pivot to work that is coronavirus relevant. BIRCH has a compelling collection of innovative medical research projects underway, many of which will help the region to use their hospital beds and resources more effectively. This funding ensures this work can continue apace. There are also increased opportunities for swift development and commercialisation of health innovations. One such innovation already underway, with BIRCH support, is the low cost ventilator invented by local mining entrepreneur Sandy Gray of Gekko Industries. This investment will support local communities, including many that were already doing it tough as a result of drought and this summer’s bushfires, as they begin the road towards recovery. New projects across the state include investment in mental health resources, from supporting young people adversely affected by coronavirus to providing new opportunities for industry innovation. All projects focus on getting shovels in the ground and creating opportunities that drive investment back into local communities. Funded as part of the Government’s record $2.6 billion Delivering for Regional and Rural Victoria Program, the newly announced projects are in addition to the Victorian Government’s recently announced $2.7 billion Building Works package, of which more than half are focused on supporting rural and regional infrastructure projects. The multi-billion-dollar investment will support the creation of thousands of new jobs and, by investing in local projects and priorities, will help to ensure that regional Victorians are on a level playing field as they navigate the consequences of coronavirus. Quotes attributable to Member for Wendouree Juliana Addison “Considering that 30% of the Australian population is regional and rural based, BIRCH is well placed to research the unique health problems faced by our community.” “BIRCH’s leadership is vital in the ongoing pursuit of better health outcomes for regional Victorians. This funding will allow their innovative and important work to continue.”   Quotes attributable to Member for Buninyong Michaela Settle  “The Victorian Government is committed to accelerating progress on projects that have the potential to generate immediate economic benefit for our regions and help them recover from the impacts of coronavirus.” “The key requirement for these projects is that they can get underway as soon as possible, meaning shovels in the ground – and boots in the mud – within a matter of weeks and months.”   Quotes attributable to BIRCH Executive Director, Associate Professor Mark Yates “BIRCH is thrilled to receive this grant from the Victorian Government. This funding helps us continue to support local clinicians in their research, especially those working on projects that shorten time in hospital or keep community members healthy at home. It's also a vote of confidence in BIRCH, which is important for additional philanthropic and industry investment.”  

Funding for BIRCH

The Ballarat community has received $150,000 for BIRCH, the Ballarat Innovation and Research Collaboration for Health as part of the Victorian Government’s ongoing commitment to support regional communities through the impacts of coronavirus. Member for Wendouree, Ms Juliana Addison, today announced the additional funding for the project, which is among a suite of shovel-ready initiatives expedited to support economic and social renewal across rural and regional Victoria. BIRCH is ideally placed to assist their Ballarat health service, university and industry partners pivot to work that is coronavirus relevant. BIRCH has a compelling collection of innovative medical research projects underway, many of which will help the region to use their hospital beds and resources more effectively. This funding ensures this work can continue apace. There are also increased opportunities for swift development and commercialisation of health innovations. One such innovation already underway, with BIRCH support, is the low cost ventilator invented by local mining entrepreneur Sandy Gray of Gekko Industries. This investment will support local communities, including many that were already doing it tough as a result of drought and this summer’s bushfires, as they begin the road towards recovery. New projects across the state include investment in mental health resources, from supporting young people adversely affected by coronavirus to providing new opportunities for industry innovation. All projects focus on getting shovels in the ground and creating opportunities that drive investment back into local communities. Funded as part of the Government’s record $2.6 billion Delivering for Regional and Rural Victoria Program, the newly announced projects are in addition to the Victorian Government’s recently announced $2.7 billion Building Works package, of which more than half are focused on supporting rural and regional infrastructure projects. The multi-billion-dollar investment will support the creation of thousands of new jobs and, by investing in local projects and priorities, will help to ensure that regional Victorians are on a level playing field as they navigate the consequences of coronavirus. Quotes attributable to Member for Wendouree Juliana Addison “Considering that 30% of the Australian population is regional and rural based, BIRCH is well placed to research the unique health problems faced by our community.” “BIRCH’s leadership is vital in the ongoing pursuit of better health outcomes for regional Victorians. This funding will allow their innovative and important work to continue.”   Quotes attributable to Member for Buninyong Michaela Settle  “The Victorian Government is committed to accelerating progress on projects that have the potential to generate immediate economic benefit for our regions and help them recover from the impacts of coronavirus.” “The key requirement for these projects is that they can get underway as soon as possible, meaning shovels in the ground – and boots in the mud – within a matter of weeks and months.”   Quotes attributable to BIRCH Executive Director, Associate Professor Mark Yates “BIRCH is thrilled to receive this grant from the Victorian Government. This funding helps us continue to support local clinicians in their research, especially those working on projects that shorten time in hospital or keep community members healthy at home. It's also a vote of confidence in BIRCH, which is important for additional philanthropic and industry investment.”  

Funding boost for Ballarat and Grampians Community Legal Service to aid coronavirus response

Ballarat and Grampians Community Legal Service is set to share in joint funding of almost $30 million from the Andrews Labor Government, and the Commonwealth, for community legal centres across the state to respond to coronavirus (COVID-19). Ballarat and Grampians Community Legal Service will receive $321,500 to support its continued delivery of frontline legal assistance services during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Member for Wendouree Juliana Addison and Member for Buninyong Michaela Settle welcomed the funding, which will provide more members of the community with access to justice as they face the challenges arising from COVID-19. Ballarat and Grampians Community Legal Service is responding to increased demand due to the impacts of COVID-19, providing vital support to Victorians with a range of issues including family violence related matters, employment rights and tenancy and housing matters. The funding boost will also help Ballarat and Grampians Community Legal Service to upgrade technology so that more community members can access the help they need remotely and digitally while the COVID-19 restrictions remain ongoing. The Victorian Government’s $17.5 million COVID-19 response is in addition to funding recently agreed with the Commonwealth under the National Legal Assistance Partnership 2020-25 Agreement. The Agreement will see an additional $4 million in funding each year for the legal assistance sector in Victoria compared to the expiring National Partnership Agreement 2015-20. Quote attributable to Attorney-General Jill Hennessy "Our community legal centres are on the frontline, helping Victorians who need support every single day – this funding will ensure they provide this support virtually, to more Victorians.” Quote attributable to Member for Member for Wendouree Juliana Addison "Ballarat and Grampians Community Legal Service does vital work supporting people in our community every day, this extra support recognises that work as well as the challenges of operating during the coronavirus pandemic.” Quote attributable to Member for Buninyong Michaela Settle “With this funding boost our community can be assured that they will continue to have a place to turn for legal help when they need it." Quotes attributable to Lisa Buckland, Manager Ballarat & Grampians Community Legal Service "BGCLS welcomes the news of $321,500 in additional funding to support provision of legal services to those in need within our communities.  COVID-19 has had a significant impact on a broad cross section of our community and impacted different individuals in our region in different ways. We anticipate to see an increase in clients that would not otherwise utilise our service for matters including family violence, employment and tenancy matters." "BGCLS expects that the impacts of this crisis will be felt long into the future. This additional funding will ensure that we have the resources to meet these changing needs of our community." "We acknowledge the support provided by our local members of parliament and their advocacy which led to this funding."  

Funding boost for Ballarat and Grampians Community Legal Service to aid coronavirus response

Ballarat and Grampians Community Legal Service is set to share in joint funding of almost $30 million from the Andrews Labor Government, and the Commonwealth, for community legal centres across the state to respond to coronavirus (COVID-19). Ballarat and Grampians Community Legal Service will receive $321,500 to support its continued delivery of frontline legal assistance services during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Member for Wendouree Juliana Addison and Member for Buninyong Michaela Settle welcomed the funding, which will provide more members of the community with access to justice as they face the challenges arising from COVID-19. Ballarat and Grampians Community Legal Service is responding to increased demand due to the impacts of COVID-19, providing vital support to Victorians with a range of issues including family violence related matters, employment rights and tenancy and housing matters. The funding boost will also help Ballarat and Grampians Community Legal Service to upgrade technology so that more community members can access the help they need remotely and digitally while the COVID-19 restrictions remain ongoing. The Victorian Government’s $17.5 million COVID-19 response is in addition to funding recently agreed with the Commonwealth under the National Legal Assistance Partnership 2020-25 Agreement. The Agreement will see an additional $4 million in funding each year for the legal assistance sector in Victoria compared to the expiring National Partnership Agreement 2015-20. Quote attributable to Attorney-General Jill Hennessy "Our community legal centres are on the frontline, helping Victorians who need support every single day – this funding will ensure they provide this support virtually, to more Victorians.” Quote attributable to Member for Member for Wendouree Juliana Addison "Ballarat and Grampians Community Legal Service does vital work supporting people in our community every day, this extra support recognises that work as well as the challenges of operating during the coronavirus pandemic.” Quote attributable to Member for Buninyong Michaela Settle “With this funding boost our community can be assured that they will continue to have a place to turn for legal help when they need it." Quotes attributable to Lisa Buckland, Manager Ballarat & Grampians Community Legal Service "BGCLS welcomes the news of $321,500 in additional funding to support provision of legal services to those in need within our communities.  COVID-19 has had a significant impact on a broad cross section of our community and impacted different individuals in our region in different ways. We anticipate to see an increase in clients that would not otherwise utilise our service for matters including family violence, employment and tenancy matters." "BGCLS expects that the impacts of this crisis will be felt long into the future. This additional funding will ensure that we have the resources to meet these changing needs of our community." "We acknowledge the support provided by our local members of parliament and their advocacy which led to this funding."  

Name change for Ballarat school

A Ballarat school is changing its name as it moves forward toward a new era of providing a first-class education for local students. Minister for Education James Merlino this week approved a request for Urquhart Park Primary School to change its name to Newington Primary School, to better reflect the school’s location and help build an even stronger sense of community at the school. The school and school council requested the name change following extensive consultation with the school community. The school is located in the suburb of Newington, with the change in name enabling it to build closer ties with, and name recognition in, the vibrant and reinvigorated area. The school was originally located on Urquhart Street, Ballarat, and changed its name to Urquhart Park Primary School in 1982, when it moved to its current site. The community consultation included letters home to parents seeking feedback, a notice in the local paper seeking feedback, and letters to local businesses and organisations. The Andrews Labor Government has invested $6.1 billion to deliver more than 1,400 school upgrades and supporting more than 7,500 construction jobs for Victorians. Under the Labor Government’s school building boom, a total of 100 new schools will open by 2026, ensuring every child can access a great local school where students can achieve their best. The Labor Government is building the Education State so that every student can access a great local school and get a great education. Quotes attributable to Member for Wendouree Juliana Addison  “Schools aren’t just places for learning, but hubs for the community which is why it is so important local community voices were heard in this process.”  “It is exciting for this school to receive its new name delivering what the school and community want.” Quotes attributable to Principal Janet Hillgrove “This is about moving the school into the future and connecting with our community”.  

Name change for Ballarat school

A Ballarat school is changing its name as it moves forward toward a new era of providing a first-class education for local students. Minister for Education James Merlino this week approved a request for Urquhart Park Primary School to change its name to Newington Primary School, to better reflect the school’s location and help build an even stronger sense of community at the school. The school and school council requested the name change following extensive consultation with the school community. The school is located in the suburb of Newington, with the change in name enabling it to build closer ties with, and name recognition in, the vibrant and reinvigorated area. The school was originally located on Urquhart Street, Ballarat, and changed its name to Urquhart Park Primary School in 1982, when it moved to its current site. The community consultation included letters home to parents seeking feedback, a notice in the local paper seeking feedback, and letters to local businesses and organisations. The Andrews Labor Government has invested $6.1 billion to deliver more than 1,400 school upgrades and supporting more than 7,500 construction jobs for Victorians. Under the Labor Government’s school building boom, a total of 100 new schools will open by 2026, ensuring every child can access a great local school where students can achieve their best. The Labor Government is building the Education State so that every student can access a great local school and get a great education. Quotes attributable to Member for Wendouree Juliana Addison  “Schools aren’t just places for learning, but hubs for the community which is why it is so important local community voices were heard in this process.”  “It is exciting for this school to receive its new name delivering what the school and community want.” Quotes attributable to Principal Janet Hillgrove “This is about moving the school into the future and connecting with our community”.  

SAFE PATIENT CARE (NURSE TO PATIENT AND MIDWIFE TO PATIENT RATIOS) AMENDMENT BILL 2020 – Second Reading Debate

I stood up in Parliament to talk on the Safe Patient Care (Nurse to Patient and Midwife to Patient Ratios) Amendment Bill 2020. This important legislation is committed to ensuring Victorians have access to high-quality and safe health care as well as respecting the work of our nurses and midwives.   Nurses and midwives are at the heart of our hospitals and health services, and I would like to take this opportunity to recognise the important work of the ANMF and their members, who have been on the front line caring for our community during this pandemic and putting themselves at risk to save lives.

SAFE PATIENT CARE (NURSE TO PATIENT AND MIDWIFE TO PATIENT RATIOS) AMENDMENT BILL 2020 – Second Reading Debate

I stood up in Parliament to talk on the Safe Patient Care (Nurse to Patient and Midwife to Patient Ratios) Amendment Bill 2020. This important legislation is committed to ensuring Victorians have access to high-quality and safe health care as well as respecting the work of our nurses and midwives.   Nurses and midwives are at the heart of our hospitals and health services, and I would like to take this opportunity to recognise the important work of the ANMF and their members, who have been on the front line caring for our community during this pandemic and putting themselves at risk to save lives.

 

SAFE PATIENT CARE (NURSE TO PATIENT AND MIDWIFE TO PATIENT RATIOS) AMENDMENT BILL 2020 – Second Reading Debate

I stood up in Parliament to talk on the Safe Patient Care (Nurse to Patient and Midwife to Patient Ratios) Amendment Bill 2020. This important legislation is committed to ensuring Victorians have access to high-quality and safe health care as well as respecting the work of our nurses and midwives.   Nurses and midwives are at the heart of our hospitals and health services, and I would like to take this opportunity to recognise the important work of the ANMF and their members, who have been on the front line caring for our community during this pandemic and putting themselves at risk to save lives.

SAFE PATIENT CARE (NURSE TO PATIENT AND MIDWIFE TO PATIENT RATIOS) AMENDMENT BILL 2020 – Second Reading Debate

I stood up in Parliament to talk on the Safe Patient Care (Nurse to Patient and Midwife to Patient Ratios) Amendment Bill 2020. This important legislation is committed to ensuring Victorians have access to high-quality and safe health care as well as respecting the work of our nurses and midwives.   Nurses and midwives are at the heart of our hospitals and health services, and I would like to take this opportunity to recognise the important work of the ANMF and their members, who have been on the front line caring for our community during this pandemic and putting themselves at risk to save lives.

Early Childhood Education – Motion

I was proud to stand in the house to talk about the work that the Andrews Labor Government is doing to deliver on it's election promise of free 3 year old kinder to all of our littlest Victorians. I thank ECKA and all of our Early Educators in our community, particularly for their support for our children during this pandemic, making it safe for pick ups and drop offs and for their tireless work educating the future leaders of our State. The data is in, early learning is important for a child's future and the work that Early Childhood Educators do to support that is vital.

Early Childhood Education – Motion

I was proud to stand in the house to talk about the work that the Andrews Labor Government is doing to deliver on it's election promise of free 3 year old kinder to all of our littlest Victorians. I thank ECKA and all of our Early Educators in our community, particularly for their support for our children during this pandemic, making it safe for pick ups and drop offs and for their tireless work educating the future leaders of our State. The data is in, early learning is important for a child's future and the work that Early Childhood Educators do to support that is vital.

Early Childhood Education – Motion

You can watch the video here. What a difficult act to follow. The member for Mount Waverley is always such a delight to listen to—the insights that he brings to this house, the popular culture references. I must admit I do turn the volume up if I am not in the chamber to hear the words of the member for Mount Waverley. He has not disappointed once again tonight. Like the member for Mount Waverley, I am so pleased to speak on this motion that is before the house today. Early education is an issue that is important to so many families in Wendouree, and the rollout of the Andrews Labor government’s landmark reforms that will see $5 billion invested over the next decade to deliver 15 hours of three-year-old kinder has been very well received within my community. The evidence is in and the evidence is clear: two years are better than one when it comes to early learning. Our kindergartens are not only places where children learn but where they create, where they innovate and where they play. They are a vital part of our community. Therefore it is crucial that we invest in our educators, our kinder programs, our infrastructure, to support them. How children learn is changing because knowledge is changing faster for them than any other generation in history. It has never been more important to invest in and develop a culture of curiosity and creative thinking. That is why we are revolutionising early learning by providing three-year-old kinder for every Victorian child. I would really and sincerely like to thank the mover of this motion, the Parliamentary Secretary for Early Childhood Education, the member for Carrum, for her commitment to this portfolio and commend her for her excellent contribution to this debate but more importantly for the landmark work she is doing in the field of early education. The introduction of 15 hours of three-year-old kinder is about ensuring that our youngest Victorians get the very best start in life. It will be transformative in both the short term and the longer term for our children and for our state. I am proud to be a part of a government that is again implementing transformative social policy for Victoria. Kinders hold a special place in the hearts of many families, and it was lovely to hear the member for Mount Waverley talk about how important being a kinder parent was to him and watching his children grow. They are where our children make their first friends. They learn to cut with scissors, they learn to sing new songs and play new games. They are often exposed to the different cultures of their friends and educators. They do the sensory and messy play that many parents cannot or will not do at home. They learn invaluable social skills as well as literacy and communication skills through play. They experience creativity, technology and maths. They cement the skills that they need for school. In fact children learn more quickly in the first five years of their life than at any other time. As a former schoolteacher I know first hand that attending three-year-old and four-year-old kindergarten is so important to a child’s development because 90 per cent of brain development occurs before a child turns five. These early years are also crucial for early intervention for children with disabilities and vulnerable children. By giving children that additional year at kinder we are providing them with a safety net and setting them up for future success. I wish to commend the Minister for Education, our Deputy Premier, for his exceptional leadership through the coronavirus and his hardworking advisers in his ministerial office, including Chris, Sinead, Liam and Alice. As well as impacting on students at schools, TAFEs and universities across Victoria, the coronavirus also impacted on our littlest learners who attend kindergarten. That is why I am very proud that the Andrews Labor government announced $45 million in additional funding to provide support for sessional kindergarten providers. This funding was to provide support in light of numbers declining significantly as more and more parents chose to keep their children at home at the commencement of the coronavirus pandemic. The funding of approximately $485 per child enrolled for term 2 was significant as it allowed providers to continue teaching and caring for Victorian kids, importantly including the children of essential workers, such as our nurses, our cleaners, our supermarket and pharmacy employees, all for free during term 2. It also provided for vulnerable children to be able to continue their 15-hour kinder programs and interactions with early educators during the time of restrictions and lockdown for free. I wish to thank the Eureka Community Kindergarten Association and all our early educators across Ballarat for the work they did during the coronavirus pandemic keeping our children safe and supporting them with their learning. I would also like to recognise the amount of work that has been done by our kinders to make sure that drop-offs and pick-ups are safe for parents, for carers and for children while maintaining social distancing. Your efforts are greatly appreciated. Both our girls attended three-year-old kinder at Fidelity kinder in Ballarat Central. I would particularly like to thank the amazing early educators at Fidelity, Heather and Mary, and all the other educators who have had such a positive influence on the lives of our daughters. Kinders across Victoria are very, very special places. At Fidelity every child is valued and has the opportunity to learn, explore, make choices, cooperate, collaborate, investigate, negotiate and create meaning to the extent of their current knowledge and abilities. It is a safe place for children to learn, to make mistakes and to thrive as they grow an awareness about themselves and the world they live in. Three-year-old kinder was so beneficial for my children in developing early numeracy and literacy skills, encouraging a love of books and painting and in promoting their imagination and their role play as well as being a vital time to build confidence, relationships and a sense of self. I believe that every child in Victoria should have access to quality three-year-old kinder for 15 hours per week and that no child should be left behind. The benefits of the early years education project for children do not just flow into the school years but well beyond, and we certainly heard from the Minister for Youth Justice, who has just walked in, about the prison population and the importance of providing kids with education and support. We have made a number of commitments in this space. Our commitment to early education requires a huge investment in local infrastructure and education and training for early educators. That is why we are investing $5 billion over 10 years. This will give all young children the chance to have access to a high-quality foundation to their education. It is not only investment in infrastructure and equipment but an investment in Victoria’s future. We know that early education is so important, and the evidence is in. Researchers are united in demonstrating that quality play-based learning is a powerful way to support children’s learning and development. The Australian Early Development Census shows us that the foundations of one’s success, health and emotional wellbeing can be traced back to early childhood. Cost should be no barrier to accessing three-year-old kinder. All parents should have the same opportunity to give their children—our youngest students—the best start in life regardless of household income. This is an important issue of equality and of opportunity for all. This government has prioritised our youngest Victorians because we know that is where we can make a real difference. We are making Victoria the Education State. Not only are we looking after our youngest people but we are making sure that we undertake this policy reform in a strategic way by beginning with six regional local government areas before we start with another 15 local government areas. By 2022 children in my community will have access to 5 hours of subsidised kindergarten before it is fully rolled out in 2029. It is very important that with more three-year-olds than ever attending kinder we have more early educators. That is why we are supporting our future early learning educators by adding the diploma of early childhood education and care, and the certificate III in early childhood education and care to free TAFE. This will remove the financial barriers for people who wish to train or retrain. We are also providing financial support in the form of scholarships and employment incentives for people looking for a rewarding career in the early childhood sector. I encourage anyone who would like to be an early educator to look into this. In conclusion, once again we are putting words into action across Victoria. Three-year-old kinder will make a real difference to the lives of local kids thanks to amazing educators. Victoria is the Education State and the Andrews Labor government is delivering for all Victorians, including our littlest ones, with kinder, and they will continue to reap the benefits of our record investment into schools as they continue their education journey. With the $5 billion investment we are making over the next decade I am sure that Victorian kids will have a fantastic future. I commend this motion to the house.

Early Childhood Education – Motion

You can watch the video here. What a difficult act to follow. The member for Mount Waverley is always such a delight to listen to—the insights that he brings to this house, the popular culture references. I must admit I do turn the volume up if I am not in the chamber to hear the words of the member for Mount Waverley. He has not disappointed once again tonight. Like the member for Mount Waverley, I am so pleased to speak on this motion that is before the house today. Early education is an issue that is important to so many families in Wendouree, and the rollout of the Andrews Labor government’s landmark reforms that will see $5 billion invested over the next decade to deliver 15 hours of three-year-old kinder has been very well received within my community. The evidence is in and the evidence is clear: two years are better than one when it comes to early learning. Our kindergartens are not only places where children learn but where they create, where they innovate and where they play. They are a vital part of our community. Therefore it is crucial that we invest in our educators, our kinder programs, our infrastructure, to support them. How children learn is changing because knowledge is changing faster for them than any other generation in history. It has never been more important to invest in and develop a culture of curiosity and creative thinking. That is why we are revolutionising early learning by providing three-year-old kinder for every Victorian child. I would really and sincerely like to thank the mover of this motion, the Parliamentary Secretary for Early Childhood Education, the member for Carrum, for her commitment to this portfolio and commend her for her excellent contribution to this debate but more importantly for the landmark work she is doing in the field of early education. The introduction of 15 hours of three-year-old kinder is about ensuring that our youngest Victorians get the very best start in life. It will be transformative in both the short term and the longer term for our children and for our state. I am proud to be a part of a government that is again implementing transformative social policy for Victoria. Kinders hold a special place in the hearts of many families, and it was lovely to hear the member for Mount Waverley talk about how important being a kinder parent was to him and watching his children grow. They are where our children make their first friends. They learn to cut with scissors, they learn to sing new songs and play new games. They are often exposed to the different cultures of their friends and educators. They do the sensory and messy play that many parents cannot or will not do at home. They learn invaluable social skills as well as literacy and communication skills through play. They experience creativity, technology and maths. They cement the skills that they need for school. In fact children learn more quickly in the first five years of their life than at any other time. As a former schoolteacher I know first hand that attending three-year-old and four-year-old kindergarten is so important to a child’s development because 90 per cent of brain development occurs before a child turns five. These early years are also crucial for early intervention for children with disabilities and vulnerable children. By giving children that additional year at kinder we are providing them with a safety net and setting them up for future success. I wish to commend the Minister for Education, our Deputy Premier, for his exceptional leadership through the coronavirus and his hardworking advisers in his ministerial office, including Chris, Sinead, Liam and Alice. As well as impacting on students at schools, TAFEs and universities across Victoria, the coronavirus also impacted on our littlest learners who attend kindergarten. That is why I am very proud that the Andrews Labor government announced $45 million in additional funding to provide support for sessional kindergarten providers. This funding was to provide support in light of numbers declining significantly as more and more parents chose to keep their children at home at the commencement of the coronavirus pandemic. The funding of approximately $485 per child enrolled for term 2 was significant as it allowed providers to continue teaching and caring for Victorian kids, importantly including the children of essential workers, such as our nurses, our cleaners, our supermarket and pharmacy employees, all for free during term 2. It also provided for vulnerable children to be able to continue their 15-hour kinder programs and interactions with early educators during the time of restrictions and lockdown for free. I wish to thank the Eureka Community Kindergarten Association and all our early educators across Ballarat for the work they did during the coronavirus pandemic keeping our children safe and supporting them with their learning. I would also like to recognise the amount of work that has been done by our kinders to make sure that drop-offs and pick-ups are safe for parents, for carers and for children while maintaining social distancing. Your efforts are greatly appreciated. Both our girls attended three-year-old kinder at Fidelity kinder in Ballarat Central. I would particularly like to thank the amazing early educators at Fidelity, Heather and Mary, and all the other educators who have had such a positive influence on the lives of our daughters. Kinders across Victoria are very, very special places. At Fidelity every child is valued and has the opportunity to learn, explore, make choices, cooperate, collaborate, investigate, negotiate and create meaning to the extent of their current knowledge and abilities. It is a safe place for children to learn, to make mistakes and to thrive as they grow an awareness about themselves and the world they live in. Three-year-old kinder was so beneficial for my children in developing early numeracy and literacy skills, encouraging a love of books and painting and in promoting their imagination and their role play as well as being a vital time to build confidence, relationships and a sense of self. I believe that every child in Victoria should have access to quality three-year-old kinder for 15 hours per week and that no child should be left behind. The benefits of the early years education project for children do not just flow into the school years but well beyond, and we certainly heard from the Minister for Youth Justice, who has just walked in, about the prison population and the importance of providing kids with education and support. We have made a number of commitments in this space. Our commitment to early education requires a huge investment in local infrastructure and education and training for early educators. That is why we are investing $5 billion over 10 years. This will give all young children the chance to have access to a high-quality foundation to their education. It is not only investment in infrastructure and equipment but an investment in Victoria’s future. We know that early education is so important, and the evidence is in. Researchers are united in demonstrating that quality play-based learning is a powerful way to support children’s learning and development. The Australian Early Development Census shows us that the foundations of one’s success, health and emotional wellbeing can be traced back to early childhood. Cost should be no barrier to accessing three-year-old kinder. All parents should have the same opportunity to give their children—our youngest students—the best start in life regardless of household income. This is an important issue of equality and of opportunity for all. This government has prioritised our youngest Victorians because we know that is where we can make a real difference. We are making Victoria the Education State. Not only are we looking after our youngest people but we are making sure that we undertake this policy reform in a strategic way by beginning with six regional local government areas before we start with another 15 local government areas. By 2022 children in my community will have access to 5 hours of subsidised kindergarten before it is fully rolled out in 2029. It is very important that with more three-year-olds than ever attending kinder we have more early educators. That is why we are supporting our future early learning educators by adding the diploma of early childhood education and care, and the certificate III in early childhood education and care to free TAFE. This will remove the financial barriers for people who wish to train or retrain. We are also providing financial support in the form of scholarships and employment incentives for people looking for a rewarding career in the early childhood sector. I encourage anyone who would like to be an early educator to look into this. In conclusion, once again we are putting words into action across Victoria. Three-year-old kinder will make a real difference to the lives of local kids thanks to amazing educators. Victoria is the Education State and the Andrews Labor government is delivering for all Victorians, including our littlest ones, with kinder, and they will continue to reap the benefits of our record investment into schools as they continue their education journey. With the $5 billion investment we are making over the next decade I am sure that Victorian kids will have a fantastic future. I commend this motion to the house.

Community Sport – Members Statement

You can watch the video here. Like many people, I love community sport. I know how important it is for building safer, stronger and healthy communities. Local clubs, leagues and associations have been hit hard by the coronavirus restrictions, and that is why the Andrews Labor government has established the Community Sports Sector Short-term Survival Package. The $1000 grants will make it that little bit easier for clubs to start to train again and head back to courts, ovals, pitches, greens, tracks and fields across Victoria. I am pleased that the following clubs in the electorate of Wendouree have been successful in securing $1000 grants: the Ballarat Bowling Club, the Ballarat City Football Club , the Ballarat football club, the Ballarat Greyhound Racing Club, Ballarat Gymsports, Ballarat North Bowling Club, Ballarat Pony Club, Ballarat/Redan Cricket Club, Ballarat Royals Baseball Club, Ballarat Women’s Cricket Club, Brown Hill Cricket Club, City Oval Bowling Club, Drummo Dragons Basketball Club, Forest Rangers soccer club, Midlands Golf Club, North Ballarat Football Club and Sports Club, Victoria Bowling Club, Western Croquet Club, Webbcona Bowls Club, Wendouree Cricket Club and Wendouree Ballarat Rowing Club. Further announcements are still to be made, and I look forward to informing the successful clubs. Sports club are the hub of community life, and that is why I am so looking forward to the resumption of training and competition over the next month. Game on.

Community Sport – Members Statement

You can watch the video here. Like many people, I love community sport. I know how important it is for building safer, stronger and healthy communities. Local clubs, leagues and associations have been hit hard by the coronavirus restrictions, and that is why the Andrews Labor government has established the Community Sports Sector Short-term Survival Package. The $1000 grants will make it that little bit easier for clubs to start to train again and head back to courts, ovals, pitches, greens, tracks and fields across Victoria. I am pleased that the following clubs in the electorate of Wendouree have been successful in securing $1000 grants: the Ballarat Bowling Club, the Ballarat City Football Club , the Ballarat football club, the Ballarat Greyhound Racing Club, Ballarat Gymsports, Ballarat North Bowling Club, Ballarat Pony Club, Ballarat/Redan Cricket Club, Ballarat Royals Baseball Club, Ballarat Women’s Cricket Club, Brown Hill Cricket Club, City Oval Bowling Club, Drummo Dragons Basketball Club, Forest Rangers soccer club, Midlands Golf Club, North Ballarat Football Club and Sports Club, Victoria Bowling Club, Western Croquet Club, Webbcona Bowls Club, Wendouree Cricket Club and Wendouree Ballarat Rowing Club. Further announcements are still to be made, and I look forward to informing the successful clubs. Sports club are the hub of community life, and that is why I am so looking forward to the resumption of training and competition over the next month. Game on.