The MAV is urging communities to sign a petition calling on the Federal Turnbull Government to continue funding kindergartens, so Victorian children don't lose five hours of kinder a week.
Despite evidence linking kinder attendance to improved student results in numeracy, reading and spelling, the Federal Government still has not committed to funding 5 hours of kinder a week - around $100 million for Victoria - after the current National Partnership Agreement ends in December.
As part of that agreement the State Government provides funding for another 10 hours, to meet the national target of providing access to 15 hours of kinder a week for four year-olds. Parents and councils also provide funding to help to make up the shortfalls.
If the Federal Government ends its funding, parents who can't afford extra child care to cover the lost day of kinder will find it harder to return to work. And parents who are already working could face up to $2000 extra per year per child, even after child care subsidies, if they're forced to pay for an extra day of child care each week.
MAV Interim President Coral Ross said kindergarten, or preschool, was a critical time in a child's development and urged communities to sign the petition to show the Federal Government that cutting funding would be unacceptable.
"Kindergarten gives our children the best start at a critical time in their development and helps to prepare them for school," Cr Ross said.
"Many families already struggle with the rising costs of childcare and school, so to lose 5 hours of funded kinder would really hurt those who need it most.
"Victorian communities already contribute 35 per cent of the cost of kinder through fees, fundraising and local government support. In addition, more than $300 million of ratepayer funds was invested by councils over four years to build the facilities needed to deliver 15 hours.
"It is only fair that the Federal Government contributes its share, particularly for something that is so important to our children's future."
Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos launched the State Government petition in the lead-up to the Federal Budget.
"Federal funding is integral to delivering more hours at kindergarten to more children. Having to regularly face this insecurity and worry takes a toll on both services and families," Minister Mikakos said.
"15 hours of kindergarten makes an enormous difference to a child in the year before school. Research clearly links kindergarten participation with better school performance, and improved job prospects and higher wages on entering the workforce."
You can sign the petition here: http://thismatters.org.au/kindercuts
For further information contact MAV Interim President Cr Coral Ross on 0438 005 225 or the MAV Communications Unit on (03) 9667 5521.