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    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Premier and Minister for Reconstruction
    The Honourable Anna Bligh


    Premier and Minister for Reconstruction
    The Honourable Anna Bligh

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012


    The door to low or no- cost kindergarten education will be opened for thousands more young Queenslanders under an initiative unveiled today by Premier Anna Bligh.

    The Premier said the Government would invest $23 million in additional kindergarten subsidies to give more children a flying start to life and learning.

    “The Queensland Government will significantly increase subsidies for low income families to reduce the cost barrier to accessing kindergarten programs, including more than doubling the Health Care Card subsidy for those most in need.

    “For 2012, the Health Care Card subsidy is increasing from $402 to $1042 for families accessing kindergarten programs in long day care services and from $1179 to up to $2600 for families accessing a kindergarten service.

    “This significant funding boost supports the government’s commitment to ensuring cost is not a barrier to kindergarten participation and will help up to 13,000 more young Queenslanders enjoy the life-long benefits of kindy.

    “Families with a Health Care Card will be able to access low- or no-cost kindergarten programs in long day care and kindergarten services.”

    Ms Bligh said the government was committed to providing universal access to quality kindergarten services by 2014.

    “We are already ahead of our target and this latest initiative will remove a hurdle to access that has been identified in recent research,” she said.

    “The research showed that barriers to participating in a kindergarten program were often higher for the children who would benefit most.

    “About 20 per cent of families are eligible for this Health Care Card Subsidy to reduce kindy costs.

    “Families with multiple births of three or more kindy-aged children are also eligible for the same reduced kindy costs as Health Care Card holders.

    “For a family with triplets, this means kindy costs can be reduced by up to $7800 a year at kindergarten services and by $3126 a year at long day care services.”

    Ms Bligh said that in addition, the Government would also provide more funding to even more kindergarten services that operate in disadvantaged areas so more families could benefit from lower fees.

    “More than one third of Queensland’s kindy-aged children live in the low socio-economic areas where kindergarten services will now receive extra funding to offset fees, thereby reducing parents’ out-of-pocket expenses by up to $11 a day.

    Through these two initiatives, many families, including eligible foster carers, will have their out-of-pocket expenses fully subsidised.

    “This is one way the State Government is making sure all children can participate in a kindergarten program no matter where they live or what their circumstances are.

    “This funding supports the Government’s ambitious target of increasing kindergarten participation for 2012 to 86 per cent, building on our goal of 65 per cent in 2011 and up from 40 per cent participation in 2010.”

    Ms Bligh said the government acknowledged staffing was the primary expense for services, particularly attracting and retaining qualified early childhood teachers.

    ““Quality early childhood teachers are the cornerstone of our reforms, she said. That is why we are providing an additional $6.5 million of this annual funding to increase the per child subsidy for services by $100 and supporting all services to attract and retain qualified staff.”

    Ms Bligh said the $23 million kindy initiative was part of a joint Australian and Queensland Government investment of $900 million over five years. The new investment to make kindy more affordable was made possible by redirecting savings made in the capital program.

    In addition to this $23 million package, the Queensland Government has:

    • Established 23 extra kindergarten services in 2010 and 2011 with another 85 planned for 2012, with most of these opening in Term 1, creating a total of 4752 kindy places.
    • Approved more than 780 long day care services to deliver kindergarten programs, creating more than 21,500 kindy places and more choice for Queensland families.
    • Introduced the $1.2 million Kindy Rural and Remote Teacher Incentive Scheme providing up to $12,000 over two years in financial incentives to early childhood teachers who take up employment in long day care or kindergarten services in rural or remote communities to deliver kindergarten programs.
    • Offered 351 scholarships since 2010 to increase the supply of early childhood teachers.
    • Rolled out a state-wide multimedia campaign to encourage enrolments in quality kindergarten programs and help all Queensland children receive the flying start they deserve.

    More information about these initiatives will be available on the Department of Education and Training’s website shortly at\kindy.

    MEDIA CONTACT: Education Minister Office - 07 3237 1000
    Premier’s Office on 07 3224 4500