Annabelle Cleeland advocates for ECEC access in Parliament
The Sector > Workforce > Advocacy > Annabelle Cleeland advocates for ECEC access in Parliament

Annabelle Cleeland advocates for ECEC access in Parliament

by Freya Lucas

April 15, 2024

Nationals Member for Euroa Annabelle Cleeland recently addressed the Victorian Parliament calling for more support for the communities of regional Victoria when it comes to early childhood education and care (ECEC), highlighting struggles with staffing, availability, and accessibility.


Her comments were made following the announcement by the Victorian Government that it will roll out a number of ECEC services co-located with, or close to schools. 


“Sadly, so many communities across our state, including many in my electorate of Euroa, are set to remain without childcare (centres) despite desperately needing them,” she said.


“Towns throughout the region are struggling with outrageous waitlists caused by a lack of childcare and early learning facilities. Not having facilities will have a massive impact on the town’s future.”


She drew particular attention to the Seymour region, Kilmore and Broadford as “struggling the most” while pointing out that some smaller towns, such as Tooborac, had no provision for ECEC at all. 


A lack of ECEC, she continued, was perpetuating generational disadvantage, something she believes is disproportionately impacting regional communities. 


“We already have extreme cost of living pressures, as well as a labour crisis –making more accessible childcare so important to ensure parents can return to work and alleviate these issues,” she continued.


Staffing challenges in the sector were also a concern for Ms Cleeland, who said the current government has “failed to demonstrate how they would address staffing challenges as part of their plan to build early learning centres across the state.”


“So far, there are very few details or a clear plan to overcome the very probable staffing challenges that will arise in the new locations,” she said.


“We know that additional resources will be required at these centres, we can learn from the experience of trying to attract teachers to primary and secondary schools in regional communities.”


Ms Cleeland’s comments are showcased in this piece, prepared by local news source The North Central Review. 

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