Member for Barker Tony Pasin MP has hosted Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education, Angie Bell MP on the Limestone Coast this week to discuss the local challenges faced in the sector.
Ms Bell and Mr Pasin met with Kingston Early Learning and Childcare Services Working Group and the Kingston District Council about their plans for a purpose built childcare centre to address childcare availability issues that have hindered the community for almost half a century.
The Shadow Minister heard about the demand out- stripping the places available in the current rural care program, which has no room to expand at its current location. Kingston families are juggling informal childcaring arrangements and shift work, not able to have two parents work or in some cases, leaving the area altogether because of the lack of childcare places.
Mr Pasin said Kingston SE was a perfect example of a ‘childcare desert’, and a community suffering a chain reaction from lack of childcare availability.
“Kingston SE has businesses needing workers and parents that want to work but can’t. There are children missing out on important social connections in their early years, and vulnerable children that desperately need the education and professional care that childcare offers,” Mr Pasin said.
“To hear that families are making a choice to move away because of the lack of childcare is something that would be hard to comprehend in the city,” Mr Pasin said.
“The community has done an amazing job in recent years to bring this issue to the attention of State and Federal Government and I was highly supportive and took the issue to the former Prime Minister who pledged $1.8 million to fund the infrastructure needed to address the issue. While this was matched by the ALP in Opposition at the time, the entire project is now being held up because the new Labor Government refuse to commit in writing to the funding and offer a timeframe of delivery,” Mr Pasin said.
Mr Pasin also hosted a roundtable in Mount Gambier with the Shadow Minister, early learning providers and the education and training sector to discuss issues around workforce shortages within the Early Learning sector.
Mr Pasin said there was a significant shortage of childcare places in the region and attracting more people into the sector was key to solving the issue.
Shadow Minister, Angie Bell said the Federal Labor Government needs to give the Kingston community reassurance.
“It’s been more than 100 days since the Albanese Government was elected and there has been no movement on this election commitment,” Ms Bell said.
“Amanda Rishworth promised the people of Kingston SE they would receive this $1.8 million for a childcare centre, and all the community wants is reassurance that this funding will still go ahead.
“It’s clear that during the past 100 days, Labor has been doing a lot of talking and not much listening.”
With early education costs set to increase under this Government, Australian families deserve to know if they will really be better off under Labor.
It’s time the Government focussed less on politics and more on a plan to ensure a strong economy that supports Australian workers and families.
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