Undoubtedly there will be many parents who applaud the Victorian government's decision to make pre-school services free over the next decade at a cost to taxpayers of $9 billion.
Under the scheme, 15 hours of kindergarten will be provided free for all children aged three and four in 2023. In addition, from 2025, a new universal pre-prep year will be introduced to give 30 hours a week of free education for four-year-olds.
Outside of adding to the state's deficit, there is a potential social cost that comes from less time spent with parents during formative years.
Unless there is a proper curriculum for this early additional year, it is not education but glorified child-minding, which is already heavily subsidised. It also transfers the main responsibility for the formation of values and belief systems to teachers who, under state guidelines, can instruct on anything from parental pronouns to post-modernism.
If couples desire children, the responsibility for raising that child belongs to the parents, not the state. Obviously financial support from governments is always welcome - which makes this move less than fair.
The $2500 a year cited in childcare savings hardly comes close to the $61.46-a-fortnight basic family benefit which is the solitary assistance for those that choose to be a stay-at-home parent.