Free Kindy for 22,000 Queensland Children

Free Kindy for 22,000 Queensland Children
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 04: In this handout photo provided by Save The Children, American actress Pauley Perrette, better known as forensic expert Abby Sciuto in the TV show NCIS. (Photo by Luis Ascui/Save The Children via Getty Images)

More than 20,000 children will have free access to community kindergartens across Queensland until June.

The Queensland government will spend $17 million on the program to keep 465 centres across the state open for term 2, 2020.

“This is great news for the 22,000 children that attend community kindergarten,” Education Minister Grace Grace told media on April 12.

“What this announcement means is that parents can now maintain and continue their enrolment in community kindergarten, because it will be free for term two,” she said.

She said it means roughly 2700 workers who are employed in community kindergarten centres will have work.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says a statement about schooling for term 2 would be made on Tuesday.

Queensland recorded an additional 12 confirmed cases of CCP (Chinese Communist Party ) virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus overnight, bringing the state’s revised total to 983 confirmed cases.

About 72,000 tests have been conducted and 12 people remain in intensive care in Queensland hospitals.

More than a third of Queenslanders who tested positive to COVID-19 have recovered and the rate of infection is dropping.

Health Minister Steven Miles raised hopes on Saturday that restrictions to stymie the spread of the virus could end.

Miles says the recovery rate may be even higher as there was a lag in collecting data for those who had tested positive and were isolating at home.

The total of new cases for the past week is just 89.

“When I spoke to you last Saturday, it was 274 (for the week), the Saturday before that it had peaked at 380,”  Miles said.

“We have seen, in just two weeks, a very dramatic decline in the weekly average.”

Miles said social distancing and non-essential travel restrictions had saved lives, heavily reduced the number of new infections and reduced the pressure on hospitals.

The Queensland government is likely to review the measures by the end of the month, including those relating to non-attendance at schools, he said.

“We did 2149 tests overnight, considering that the number positive is just nine, that is a positive testing rate of just 0.42 over the last 24 hours, incredibly low by global standards,” he said.

“That is because of our social distancing efforts, they are working. We need to keep them up.

“We said we would review the restrictions on leaving one’s home after a month and they will probably be the first to be considered as well as the restrictions on schools which, the intention is as I understand, is to make an announcement later this week,” he said.

Despite restrictions on non-essential travel, police have issued 462 fines (of $1334 each) that have raised $616,308 in revenue for the state government.

By Nicholas McElroy