State parliament: childcare central topic again before election
The fact that there will be elections in Salzburg in less than three months could only be felt in a few pointed marginal notes on Wednesday. politicians celebrated themselves. From April there will be a free kindergarten for around 16,000 girls and boys, at a cost of around 13 million euros. At the end of January, the ÖVP surprisingly announced the free kindergarten for children from the age of three. This offer had long been a demand of the SPÖ.
The Greens and NEOS have always been sympathetic to this. They see the free kindergarten as a necessary measure against inflation, but the childcare options must now also be expanded – they demand that they be staffed and tailored to the needs of the families. The ÖVP less – they always rejected the offer – more on that in Free Kindergarten is coming April 1st (salzburg.ORF.at, January 26, 2023).
Free kindergarten is managed from the state budget
The additional costs for the free kindergarten are managed from the state budget, this solution was found within a few days. The communities would not be burdened with it. There was only disagreement in the state parliament on Wednesday about parenthood for the free kindergarten: “The families have come under pressure, the rise in prices in recent months has not left the families untouched and that is exactly why the subject of Governor Wilfried Haslauer is at the community conference been brought to the table,” says Education Councilor Daniela Gutschi (ÖVP).
A lot of praise in the state parliament
If for the ÖVP the governor is also the father of the free kindergarten, then for the Neos her party leader Andrea Klambauer is the mother. For the sake of simplicity, she praised herself on Wednesday: “The free kindergarten was ultimately implemented so quickly under my leadership.” The Greens, as the third party in the coalition alliance, then praised everyone – including the opposition: “The fact that all five parties in the Salzburg state parliament for free childcare for three to five-year-olds is probably a milestone,” said Kimbie Humer-Vogl, member of the state parliament for the Green Party.
Even the SPÖ could not do without praise. The free half-day kindergarten was always her demand, the ÖVP’s change of direction on this question was initially taken as a tactic: “We still have a few months until the election, so there is still enough time to find further unanimous decisions. Our ideas are there and as we found out, our demands are not that exaggerated,” said SPÖ member of parliament Stefanie Mösl. The FPÖ smiled on Wednesday about the who invented it debate: “The debate that is taking place around who invented it is exciting and a bit amusing. First of all, we are fundamentally pleased that it has been implemented, we were also there and we are aware that this is really a relief for families, ”said FPÖ member of parliament Marlene Svazek.
Childcare at home: FPÖ calls for support
The FPÖ now wants to use the momentum in childcare and now also get money for those parents who want to look after their children at home up to the age of three. However, this demand is again far from being able to win a majority, with this wish the Freedomists should be left alone.
SPÖ will extend free kindergarten to a whole day
The SPÖ feels confirmed: If the ÖVP hadn’t opposed it in the past, the free kindergarten would already exist. However, the current decision can only be the first step, the free offer should be extended to the entire day of kindergarten.