Bega Valley to continue children's services following review
The Sector > Provider > General News > Bega Valley Shire councillors vote to continue to provide Children’s Services

Bega Valley Shire councillors vote to continue to provide Children’s Services

by Freya Lucas

February 26, 2024

Bega Valley Shire Councillors recently unanimously voted for the Council to continue to provide Children’s Services following an independent review which found a large unmet need for early childhood education and care (ECEC) services in the Bega Valley Shire.


Emily Harrison, Council’s Director of Community, Environment and Planning, said ECEC is vital to the economy of the Bega Valley. The Council currently provides 2 centre based ECEC services including Bandara in Bega and Eden Early Learning Centre, as well as the Sapphire Mobile Preschool which operates in Bemboka and Candelo.


Access to ECEC is critical to supporting workforce participation in the community, to attracting new families and workers to the shire, and to contributing to the local economy.


“We commission regular reviews of our ECEC services to ascertain if the market or the community need has changed and what we need to consider when running these services into the future,” Ms Harrison explained.


“Our Children’s Services review found that while there are a mix of providers in the shire, the majority of these, including the Council-run services, are at capacity and have waiting lists.”


Anecdotal evidence heard by Council members shows that many businesses and key services, such as the hospital, are unable to attract new staff because would-be workers are unable to access ECEC. 


“While it’s great to see a number of national and state initiatives underway to investigate and address barriers to affordable, accessible, equitable and quality ECEC services, today’s Council resolution confirms our commitment to providing childcare in the Bega Valley and to start the planning process to determine if and how we can grow into the future to meet community need,”  Ms Harrison said.


“In the meantime, we will continue to deliver the high-quality childcare, preschool and early learning we have been delivering to the community for many years.”

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