Ensuring First Nations children in Ballarat are school ready

The Hon Dr Anne Aly MP
Minister for Early Childhood Education
Minister for Youth
Senator The Hon Malarndirri McCarthy
Assistant Minister for Indigenous Health
The Hon Catherine King MP
Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government
Member for Ballarat

The Albanese Government is helping First Nations children get the best start in life, expanding the successful Connected Beginnings program to Ballarat with $1.8 million provided to the Ballarat and District Aboriginal Cooperative.

The program connects First Nations children aged zero to five with a range of early childhood health, education, and family support services – helping children meet the learning and development milestones necessary to achieve a positive transition to school.

The new site in Ballarat, being delivered in partnership with the Ballarat and District Aboriginal Cooperative (BADAC), will support about 350 First Nations children in the local area.

The Government partners with SNAICC National Voice for our Children and the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation to deliver the Connected Beginnings program, a community-led project achiving results for about 16,500 First Nations children across Australia.

The funding for the new Ballarat site is part of an $81.8 million investment to expand the program to 50 sites across the Country. Once all 50 sites are established the program has the potential to support up to 20 per cent of all First Nations children aged zero to five.

Other Connected Beginnings sites in Victoria include Mildura, Shepparton and Whittlesea.

Learn more about the Connected Beginnings program at: https://www.education.gov.au/early-childhood/community-child-care-fund/connected-beginnings

Quotes attributable to Minister for Early Childhood Education Dr Anne Aly

“All children, no matter their background or where they live, should be able to access the transformational benefits of quality early childhood education and care.

“The program is delivering significant positive results for First Nations children, we’re already seeing an increase in the hours of early childhood education and care along with an increase in preschool enrolments.

“The structure of Connected Beginnings means that each community is empowered to design and deliver the program in a way which supports their individual needs and aspirations.”

Quotes attributable to Assistant Minister for Indigenous Health Malarndirri McCarthy

“This is about setting First Nations children up with the best start in life.

“This community led approach in Ballarat will help ensure First Nations families get the support they need to help young ones be ready for school and thrive in their education and into the future.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Ballarat Catherine King

“BADAC has a proven track record of providing culturally sensitive and high-quality early education to children in our region. Their early learning centres have been a great success and with BADAC now running the Connected Beginnings program locally, even more First Nations children will be supported and school ready.

“The Ballarat Connected Beginnings will provide wrap-around education and health support services to up to 350 local First Nations children in the critical first five years of life.”

Quotes attributable to Chief Executive Officer of SNAICC Catherine Liddle

“The Ballarat Aboriginal community is very supportive of Connected Beginnings, and of BADAC taking on the backbone role to drive the program.

“BADAC’s experience in delivering early childhood programs and family support services, along with their record in building strong community networks, gives them a strong foundation to build a program informed by local knowledge.

“Under Connected Beginnings, more Aboriginal children in the Ballarat region will have access to culturally safe integration of services such as maternal and child health, early childhood education and care and family support services. They will get the support they need to ensure they have a successful transition to big school.”

Quotes attributable to Chief Executive Officer of Ballarat and District Aboriginal Cooperative Karen Heap

“We are absolutely delighted to receive Connected Beginnings funding, which will improve the lives of Aboriginal children and their families, to enhance better outcomes from pregnancy right through to school age.”

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