• Loddon Herald

Wait can't go on

By LOUISE STALEY


EARLIER this year, the Mitchell Institute for Education and Health Policy at Victoria University eleased a report on access to childcare in communities across Australia. It would come as no surprise to local families that Loddon was declared one of the worst child care deserts in Victoria.

In May, I announced that an elected Liberal and Nationals Guy Government will deliver a new child care centre for Wedderburn as part of the redevelopment of Wedderburn College.

This project would provide essential childcare services for Wedderburn and surrounding communities, and the Liberal Nationals are right behind it.

Unfortunately, more than six weeks after my announcement, the Andrews Labor Government has failed to get on board. In the intervening weeks, the Victorian and NSW Governments announced 30 hours of four- year-old kindergarten to be rolled out across both states over the next 10 years.

The Liberal Nationals support this plan, and we will implement it if elected.

Unlike Labor, we know that regional communities do not just need better access to kindergarten, they also need better access to child care.

We understand that, in communities like Wedderburn, families can’t wait 10 years for a new child care centre.

In February, I presented a petition to Parliament with over 700 signatures calling for more child care services for families in Loddon Shire. These signatures represent mothers, fathers, carers, grandparents, and employers who are crying for more childcare in Wedderburn.

A lack of appropriate child care forces parents to choose between caring for their children and returning to the workforce.

At a time when many businesses are struggling to find staff, we need to support parents to go back to work.

The Wedderburn community live in a child care desert. We need a Government that is committed to delivering the child care they need.

* Louise Staley is the member for Ripon



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