$800,000 secures new kindergarten
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.