Small Victorian towns band together to call for ALP to match funding commitment
Murtoa, Minyip and Rupanyup are small towns in Victoria’s Wimmera region where parents are keen to secure a commitment from the Australian Labor Party (ALP) ahead of the next election, to be held 21 May 2022, calling on the party to match an $845,000 funding commitment made by the Coalition.
The sitting Coalition government has promised $845,000 to build a 30-place service in Murtoa to cater for growing demand in the region, however the funding is contingent on the Coalition being returned to power, with the local council also committing $400,000 to the project.
A Murtoa parent and lead campaigner for the project spoke with the ABC on the condition of anonymity, saying that families and children should not miss out on essential services just because of how they voted.
“We have always felt it is a non-political issue to have an essential service, such as childcare, in the Dunmunkle area,” the parent said, inviting ALP candidate Carole Hart to Murtoa to discuss childcare issues.
Ms Hart has only recently launched her campaign, and told the ABC it was too early for her to say if the party would commit to matching the funding.
Meanwhile, independent Mallee candidate Sophie Baldwin had expressed her support for the Murtoa childcare proposal, a Murtoa parent said. Incumbent Nationals MP Anne Webster visited Murtoa Kindergarten to discuss the issues recently.
Many families in the area have been campaigning for the service for four years, describing the delay in its creation as “incredibly frustrating”.
Local farmer John Hamilton uses a kindergarten service in Murtoa for one child, and daycare in Horsham, a half hour drive away, for another. The commute is taxing on Mr Hamilton and his wife who is a nurse in Rupanyup.
The days where the family can access long day care in Horsham are restricted, and this limits opportunities for work.
“It’s not uncommon for us to be driving for two hours a day to be dropping off a child at care,” he told the ABC. Having access to more hours of care closer to home would free his wife up to take on more hours either at the hospital in Horsham or at nursing homes in the district.
To read the original coverage of this story, please see here.
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