Ms Patten (Northern Metropolitan) — My question today is to the Minister for Training and Skills who represents the Minister for Education. I recently received an email from a parent concerned that her son may be exposed to special religious instruction (SRI) whilst he is in enrolled in child care. As many people would understand, childcare places in Victoria are limited and there is almost no capacity to move a child from one childcare centre to the next once they have secured a place; they are as rare as hen’s teeth in some areas. I applaud the Victorian government for its changes to SRI announced in August, moving it outside of curriculum hours. However, there now seems be an issue with SRI in childcare centres which was not covered by the recent changes. My question to the minister is: when will the government move to bring childcare centres into line with recent changes made to the school system and remove SRI programs from childcare centres that are not identified as religious already?
Ms Patten (Northern Metropolitan) — I thank the minister for his response, although I feel that childcare centres are government funded in many cases. I would also like the minister to outline what regulations and safeguards around special religious instruction in child care there are, especially as they relate to the supervision of these volunteers.