Member for Lowan and Deputy Leader of the Nationals Emma Kealy has congratulated three local kindergartens on collectively attracting over $500,000 in state government funding but believes much more needs to be done to provide better access to childcare and early years education in the region.
“Congratulations to the Edenhope Early Childhood Service, Rupanyup Kindergarten and Lake Bolac and District Kindergartens for their strong advocacy which has resulted in this long overdue funding being received,” Ms Kealy said.
“This funding is just the tip of the iceberg on what is required however to ensure our residents have access to the childcare and early years education they need and deserve.
“We continue to have a number of local communities crying out for these services including the Yarriambiack Shire Council who has plans to build a new childcare centre at the rear of the current Murtoa Kindergarten location site on Marma Street.
“Labor continues to refuse to fund this facility, despite the enormous amount of work that has been done by the Council and their commitment of $400,000 towards the project.
“Murtoa is in the unique situation of having childcare workers, pre-school-aged children and land ready to go, but is missing the required infrastructure to make the project a reality.
“I have met with ICU nurses, teachers, and a dental nurse in the area who are all keen to return to the local workforce but have been unable to do so simply because there is no childcare available in their local community.
“Other working parents are leaving their homes in the Minyip, Murtoa and Rupanyup area to drive their children to Horsham to drop them off at childcare, and then driving 55km to Warracknabeal to work. At the end of the day they drive back to Horsham to pick up their kids and drive home, travelling more than 200km a day just to access the childcare they so desperately need.
“The Andrews Labor Government must recognise that families in rural Victoria need access to childcare just as much as families living in Melbourne and I am again calling for Labor to commit the funding needed to make this desperately needed childcare facility in Murtoa a reality.”