Kingston South East ECEC service one step closer thanks to Department grant
Kingston South East is one step closer to resolving long standing issues with access to early childhood education and care (ECEC) services after the local council accepted a $10,500 grant from the state government for a business case to build a new facility that could take 60 children.
Currently 49 children in the area are waiting for ECEC services, with those advocating for the service saying the site needs to be at the Kingston Community School, where there is currently space available, and to allow cross-utilisation of both services and continuity of care, Kirsty Starling, chair of the Kingston Early Learning & Childcare Services Working Group explained.
Ms Starling spoke with the ABC, outlining that this issue is one which is not only long standing, but also slow to be resolved, welcoming the opportunity to meet with State Education Minister John Gardner to learn more about “what was it that the state government could do to help us with this issue for a rural community so we’re on par with our urban counterparts?”
The working group, she explained, has done “a huge amount of research” into two or three possible governance structures that it believes would be appropriate.
“It’s a 30- or 40-year-old issue that hasn’t been resolved to date, so we do need to move swiftly so we can engage with young families and get young families moving back into our community or staying here.”
Many local families have shared with the Council that the lack of ECEC availability limits their ability to take up work or study. The existing rural care service experiences high demand, with 61 per cent of users experiencing challenges in accessing the care they need due to high numbers.
A representative from the Council outlined the hope that the business case will be finished within three months, leaving the way forward for accessing further grant funding.
“We have already identified a proposed location, we have a verbal agreement from the Minister for that…so we’re really keen to get the business case done so we can use that as the pinnacle of what will apply to any upcoming grants for the project,” Council chief executive Nat Traeger told the ABC.
To access the original coverage of this story please see here.