Queensland families will pay less for kindergarten as the state government increases its annual investment from $130 million to $211 million over the next five years.
Education Minister Grace Grace said the new package will make early education either free or more affordable for 40,000 kids, and would benefit about 70 per cent of families that use kindy.
"For 13,000 families ... that will save between $16 and $80 per week for the 40 weeks a year that kids attend kindy," Ms Grace said on Wednesday.
The funding is "much needed" to ensure every Queensland child has access to high quality kindergarten, Sandra Cheeseman, CEO of the Creche and Kindergarten Association, said.
It targets areas including attracting more staff to regional and remote areas, and better inclusion for those who have additional learning needs, she said.
The package includes $33 million to expand the Kindy Uplift program from 400 to 930 services, $38.5 million to help attract staff to regional and remote areas, and $95 million to support children with a disability.
It will mean about 14,000 families who currently pay for kindy will be able to send their children for free, Ms Grace said.
Minderoo Foundation Thrive by Five, which campaigns for high quality and universally accessible childcare, called for greater action from the federal government following recent commitments in Queensland and NSW.
""In one of the first big moves of his premiership, (NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet ) spoke at the National Press Club proposing a massive change to Australia's early learning system and suggested his state government could take over responsibility for running (early childhood education and care) in NSW," CEO Jay Weatherill said.
"We need bold action on early learning reform and we need it now."
Independent Schools Queensland CEO Chris Mountford was pleased to see the focus on regional kindergartens and disability support.
"All children deserve a quality education regardless of their age, location or personal situation, and to see $95 million of this funding being used to support families with kindergarten children who have a disability is particularly encouraging," he said.
The reform is due to kick in from next year, by which time Queenslanders will know how much they will benefit, Ms Grace said.
"Families will know exactly where they stand about whether they'll be getting free kindy or whether they'll be getting a great subsidy in order to get their children into kindergarten," she said.
Australian Associated Press
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