• Loddon Herald

Centre 'the serious option'

AN EARLY years centre was the only realistic inclusive option to end the region’s child care crisis, Wedderburn College principal Danny Forrest said this week.

Mr Forrest said the Loddon campaign wanted to achieve an inclusive solution.

““We want to be inclusive. Anything other than an early years’ centre is only a Band-Aid, a short-term fix and then only for a few,” he said.

“We need long-term strategic thinking and the investments in assets for the future of local communities.

“Family day care as an option only helps a few. We need to be helping everyone.”

Child care working group member Maddi Postle said a Loddon-wide petition was being circulated in local communities.

“We are aiming for more than 1000 signatures before the final day for signatures on July 27. This Saturday we will have volunteers at the Wedderburn versus Wycheproof Narraport football, netball and hockey games collecting more signatures ... ironic really with Wycheproof now having their own early years’ centre,” she said.

“The feedback for the petition has already been amazing in communities across the Loddon with the forms in many local businesses. Afterall, this is a Loddon Shire-wide petition for an issue that is affecting all the communities,” she said.

Maddi said it was also exciting that Loddon Shire was planning to appoint a project officer devoted to challenges around child care.

“We’re grateful that the shire is showing some support and action too. It’s a step in the right direction,” she said. “We genuinely appreciate everyone who has signed the petition so far and every business that has hosted it and encouraged signatures.

“It’s a sign of the community camaraderie that we see so often in Wedderburn and towns across the Loddon.

“We’ve had locals ask how they can extend their support beyond a signature and the best way is to share the petition among your friends and family; take it to work, take it to your club, take it to family dinner.”

Local MP Louise Staley launched the petition in May after concern the lack of child care was impacting businesses, schools and families.

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