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Childcare in focus for regional communities

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Childcare was back on the agenda in Parliament recently, with Nationals Member for Euroa Annabelle Cleeland discussing the ongoing struggle regional communities are having due to a lack of staffing, availability, and accessibility.

Speaking on a Bill relating to the State Government’s rollout of new childcare centres, Ms Cleeland said that communities across regional Victoria were suffering due to these issues.

“As things currently stand, regional Victoria is in dire need of more childcare,” Ms Cleeland said.

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

“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.”

The Seymour region, Kilmore, and Broadford were areas pinpointed as struggling the most, while smaller towns such as, Tooborac had no childcare at all.

Ms Cleeland said this lack of childcare was perpetuating generational disadvantage, something that is disproportionately impacting regional towns.

“The Allan Labor Government’s inability to manage money, or manage a project, is now impacting the education opportunities of our children,” Ms Cleeland said.

“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.”

Ms Cleeland also said Labor had 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,” Ms Cleeland 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.”

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