JOINT MEDIA RELEASE
DANIELA DE MARTINO MP, MEMBER FOR MONBULK
JACKSON TAYLOR MP, MEMBER FOR BAYSWATER
SONJA TERPSTRA MP, MEMBER FOR NORTH-EASTERN METROPOLITAN
MICHAEL GALEA MP, MEMBER FOR SOUTH-EASTERN METROPOLITAN
It’s been revealed that Knox City Council is considering ceasing provision of their sessional early-years kinder in all but two facilities, leaving parents, children and staff at these facilities in limbo.
Despite these services being hugely valued by the community, a Knox Council report just released recommends significantly slashing Council-run sessional kinder services.
After already suspending services at six sites in 2022, the report, which will be voted at a Council meeting by elected Councillors on the 19th of June, has, in a concerning move, recommended slashing Council run-kinder services being provided at more than 20 facilities across the municipality to just two, with one in Bayswater and in Wantirna South.
State Government MPs and local parents have joined together to implore Knox City Council to not slash their sessional kinder services, calling on them to do the right thing.
Historically, Knox Council have been delivering these services to local children and families, currently across 24 sites locally.
The impacts of the proposed changes will not just be felt by local families, but it will also have a significant impact on the dedicated teachers and educators at these facilities, whose jobs now hang in the balance, the majority of whom are women.
The Australian Education Union (AEU) has also slammed the move, noting that Knox Councillors were not elected with a mandate to abandon kinder programs they deliver.
The AEU has launched a Megaphone petition directed to Council, garnering hundreds of signatures within hours of its launch and now sits at over 1,000 signatures.
Knox Council’s review comes on the back of the State Labor Government rolling out strengthened support for early-years education, with their $14 billion landmark kinder reforms – making kinder free, saving families thousands of dollars per child each year, opening fifty government owned early learning centres across the state from 2025 and doubling Four-Year-Old Kinder to a 30-hour Pre-Prep program, from 2025.
This landmark reform also provides substantial additional funding to local councils to continue to deliver early-years education, guaranteeing funding certainty and significantly increasing the amount they currently receive to provide the service. These investments include a doubling of the state government contributions to kindergarten infrastructure, through the Building Blocks program.
Council is due to make a decision on the future of kindergarten provision in our community on Monday the 19th of June. Concerned parents can sign the petition to Knox Mayor, Marcia Timmers-Leitch asking Knox to not abandon our kinders at: https://www.megaphone.org.au/petitions/city-of-knox-don-t-abandon-our-kindergartens.
Concerned families should also contact their councillors directly and implore them not to abandon our kinders at https://www.knox.vic.gov.au/our-council/councillors-and-meetings/mayor-and-councillors/current-mayor-and-councillors.
Quote attributable to Member for Monbulk, Daniela De Martino MP
“We know that Knox families have enjoyed the exceptional services provided by Council early years teachers and educators and I share families and educators concerns for the future of kinder in Knox.”
Quotes attributable to Member for Bayswater Jackson Taylor MP
“To say I’m alarmed at this report is an understatement. Locals have told me they value their council kinder, delivered by exceptional staff. This is now under threat.”
Quote attributable to Member for North-Eastern Metropolitan, Sonja Terpstra MP
“Early childhood education is a highly-feminised profession – these proposed cuts will disproportionately impact female staff. Many of these local jobs are left up in the air.”
Quote attributable to Member for South-Eastern Metropolitan, Michael Galea MP
“We need to be strengthening support for early-years – not cutting or closing. We know the value of a good early-years’ education sets up our kids for the very best start in life.”
Quote attributable to Vanessa, local parent
“I’m a local parent that will be directly impacted by these proposed changes – it’s completely unacceptable to hang local mums and dads out to dry like this.”