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Mayors Message - 2 November 2022

Mayors Message - 2 November 2022

Wednesday 2 November 2022
Cr Michael Whelan

The first five years of a child's life gives them the building blocks for their future success. Early Childhood Educators have the responsibility and privilege of educating tomorrow’s leaders.

Parents know – with plenty of research to back it up - that kinder pupils have a happier transition to school and benefit academically. This helps foster healthy, prosperous communities.

This is why Bass Coast Shire Council, has asked the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) to advocate to the Victorian Government to achieve the following outcomes:

  • Additional funding for career assistance for kindergarten educators to ensure the successful implementation of the increased 3-year-old kindergarten hours.
  • Adopt a child and family-centric model and prioritise co-location of new and existing kindergartens om primary school or P-12 sites.
  • Fund Councils’ full costs recovery to undertake the coordination and centralisation registration process for kindergartens. The funding model must reflect increases in population and all legislated requirements.

Council supports the roll out of accessible places by coordinating the central registration process. We undertake this on behalf of the State, contributing more than 50 per cent of the costs. It is time that the model was funded appropriately.

This commitment to funded 3-year-old kindergarten is good for children, families and Bass Coast communities and it’s pleasing to see investment in free courses for early childhood educators. I welcome the injection of funds from state and federal governments into this vital sector but more needs to be done.

The staggering skills shortage across Australia continues to hit early education exceptionally hard. The Victorian Skills Plan revealed the state needs 41,000 more workers in education, including Early Childhood Teachers. For those eligible, free courses in Early Childhood Education are available at Chisholm TAFE’s Bass Coast Campus. Support is also available for degree students at Wonthaggi’s Country Universities Centre Bass Coast Campus, enabling study close to home in a supported environment.

This is a career in demand. Australia needs 29,000 more early childhood teachers by 2023 to cater for the projected number of preschool age children.

This is an important issue for councils across the state which we here in Bass Coast will continue to prioritise.