$800,000 se­cures new kinder­garten

Warragul & Drouin Gazette - - NEWS -

An $800,000 fund­ing al­lo­ca­tion an­nounced by Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull on Thurs­day will com­plete fund­ing pro­pos­als for a new kinder­garten in War­ragul.

The project will de­liver a new early learn­ing cen­tre to be co-lo­cated on the War­ragul Pri­mary School site, cre­at­ing 66 new kinder­garten places. It is hoped the de­vel­op­ment will be com­pleted for next year’s school year.

Mr Turn­bull an­nounced the Re­gional Jobs and In­vest­ment Pack­ages fund­ing dur­ing a visit to Trar­al­gon.

Baw Baw Shire will re­ceive the $800,000 grant, that will add to a $650,000 state gov­ern­ment grant an­nounced in De­cem­ber.

Coun­cil sub­mit­ted the fed­eral fund­ing ap­pli­ca­tion in Novem­ber last year.

Mem­ber for McMil­lan Rus­sell Broad­bent said War­ragul and Baw Baw were grow­ing rapidly, par­tic­u­larly with young fam­i­lies and this fund­ing came an op­por­tune time to help in­fra­struc­ture needs.

“I am thrilled the Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment is able to part­ner with the Vic­to­rian Gov­ern­ment and Baw Baw Shire Coun­cil to make this project a re­al­ity”, said Mr Broad­bent.

War­ragul Pri­mary School has been lob­by­ing for five years to es­tab­lish an early learn­ing cen­tre in­cor­po­rat­ing a kinder­garten.

With the clo­sure last year of Bowen Park Kinder­garten, the tim­ing of fund­ing for a new kinder­garten will en­able a fore­cast short­fall in place­ments to be met next year.

Con­cept plans for the early learn­ing cen­tre pro­pose two rooms of 33 chil­dren each.

Mayor Joe Gauci wel­comed the news, say­ing it was a real win for lo­cal fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties and would ease the grow­ing bur­den on kinder­garten places in the shire.

“Our Shire is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing un­prece­dented pop­u­la­tion growth. There is an in­flux of young fam­i­lies mov­ing to the shire and as birth rates con­tinue to rise, so does the need for early year’s ser­vices.

“We face many gaps in lo­cal kinder­garten ser­vice and in­fra­struc­ture needs which sim­ply put, are out of coun­cil’s ju­ris­dic­tion. We are grate­ful to the Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment for un­der­stand­ing this and con­tribut­ing to our fu­ture com­mu­nity needs,” he said.

Once con­structed, the new fa­cil­ity will con­tain multi-use rooms tai­lored for kinder­garten and play group use dur­ing school hours, al­lied health and early child­hood in­ter­ven­tion ser­vices dur­ing the day and with the abil­ity to pro­vide a com­mu­nity hub out­side of these times.

“We have been work­ing hard for some time lob­by­ing for in­vest­ment into new kinder­gartens. With­out this in­vest­ment, we would be fac­ing the dis­tinct pos­si­bil­ity of a sig­nif­i­cant short­fall of funded kinder­garten places in War­ragul,” he said.

Cr Gauci also ac­knowl­edged the many years of ad­vo­cacy and plan­ning that went into the grant ap­pli­ca­tion.

“We are so pleased to be able to work with the Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment to make this project a re­al­ity. I’d like to thank Prime Min­is­ter Turn­bull for de­liv­er­ing the great news, and Rus­sell Broad­bent for his on­go­ing as­sis­tance and sup­port for the Baw Baw com­mu­nity.”

Ten­der doc­u­ments for the project will be pre­pared shortly, with con­tracts ex­pected be awarded in the com­ing months and con­struc­tion of the new fa­cil­ity to be com­pleted in 2019.

Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull an­nounces the War­ragul early learn­ing cen­tre $800,000 fund­ing boost to Baw Baw Shire chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Ali­son Leighton in Trar­al­gon on Thurs­day. Cr Michael Leaney is in the back­ground.

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