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The Nationals Member for Gippsland Darren Chester has welcomed additional Federal Government funding to support local preschools and kindergartens.

Mr Chester said the Federal Government had announced an additional $428 million to make sure local families could continue to access up to 15 hours per week of quality kindergarten education in 2018.

“Our preschools and kindergartens lay the foundation for successful learning and help to prepare children for school,” Mr Chester said.

“That’s why the Coalition Government is committed to ensuring all children have access to a quality preschool education delivered by a qualified early childhood teacher.”

Mr Chester said the Coalition would extend the National Partnership Agreement on Universal Access to Early Childhood Education in 2018.

“The states and territories are responsible for preschool delivery, but the Commonwealth will continue to provide a contribution to ensure families have nationally consistent access to 15 hours per week,” Mr Chester said.

“Data from the Australian Early Development Census shows children in regional areas are more likely to be developmentally vulnerable in their first year of full-time schooling than their peers in metropolitan areas, so preschool is particularly important in getting children from regional areas like Gippsland ready for school.”

This latest announcement will take the level of Commonwealth investment in preschool to more than $3.2 billion since the first National Partnership was agreed in 2008.

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