Children in Dandenong are among more than 28,000 across the state set to benefit from programs and additional resources in 2020, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government’s $160 million School Readiness Funding initiative.

Member for Dandenong, Gabrielle Williams, today announced all kindergarten services in Dandenong would receive extra funding next year, with 27 services to share in more than $740,000 of School Readiness Funding.

The funding can be used on programs that will improve children’s language development, social and emotional resilience and support access and inclusion in kindergarten. Kindergarten services will be able to tap into the expertise of speech and occupational therapists, language and literacy professionals and child psychologists.

The Australian-first initiative will be expanded to about 800 kindergartens in 32 local government areas in 2020 – with services in Hume, Greater Shepparton, Mitchell, Moira, Moreland, Murrindindi and Strathbogie to receive School Readiness Funding for the first time.

All kindergartens in the 25 local government areas that received School Readiness Funding in 2019, including Dandenong, will continue to benefit from the funding next year.

The Labor Government is investing around $160 million over the next four years to deliver School Readiness Funding in all funded kindergarten programs for three and four-year-old children in both long day care and sessional kindergarten settings.

Kindergartens in the six local government areas where funded three-year-old programs will be rolled out first in 2020, as part of the Labor Government’s landmark reform, will receive School Readiness Funding for both three and four-year-old children.

School Readiness Funding is a permanent part of the kindergarten system that will be available to all Victorian funded kindergarten services by 2021 to address educational disadvantage.

Australian research shows that one in five Victorian children start school developmentally vulnerable and once behind, they tend to stay behind.

The Victorian Budget 2019/20 included almost $1 billion investment in early education, including $881.6 million to start the Labor Government’s landmark roll-out of funded universal Three-Year-Old Kindergarten.