The concept plans of the Korumburra Integrated Children’s Centre which is set to be built in Mair Crescent.
PLANS for the Korumburra Integrated Children’s Centre are continuing to progress with the South Gippsland Shire Council submitting an application to the State Government under the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD) Grant Program.
Council is seeking $1.6 million or a 30 per cent contribution towards the construction of the $5.35 million centre.
With a strong history of collaboration with the State Government and local community when it comes to ensuring childcare and kindergarten services are available throughout South Gippsland, the council is hopeful that this partnership approach can again be reached for the Korumburra Project.
Late last year when childcare services in Mirboo North and Corner Inlet were under threat, the council took a lead role working with the State Government, community foundations and volunteers to ensure the services remained open.
The council’s Community Services director Jan Martin said this was an example of what can be achieved when the government and the community come together for the greater good of local families.
Ms Martin noted that both centres are now running independently.
The Korumburra Integrated Children’s Centre concept has been driven by a dedicated group of community representatives who have committed $100,000 to the project.
The centre is planned to provide 120 new places to meet a critical need for childcare, kindergarten, out of school hours care, maternal and childhood services and specialist children’s services.
It will co-locate current services that are unable to meet increasing demand and have no capacity to expand.
Vice-president of the Children’s Centre Board of Management Rebecca Marriott has been instrumental in developing the project.
As an active member of the Korumburra community, Ms Marriott understands the impact this centre would have on the district.
“The benefits to current and future South Gippsland families would have many positive flow-on effects to the lives and education of our children,” Ms Marriott said.
The project has been five years in the making with the site at Mair Crescent and over $2 million committed by South Gippsland Shire Council.
With the completion of comprehensive building and outdoor designs, the centre is now ‘shovel ready’.
The facility will create 18 new jobs during the construction phase and several additional jobs once completed.
It is estimated that the annual economic benefit to South Gippsland will be over $1,000,000.
According to Ms Martin, 21 per cent of children under the age of four are on a waitlist for kindergarten in Korumburra.
And waiting lists for day care are so long that families have no option but to seek day care outside of the area they live and work.
Added to those challenges is the fact that 31.7 per cent of households are classified low income, earning under $600 per week.
“Affordable local childcare is fundamental to reduce barriers to parents wishing to return to the workforce,” she said.
“The demand, the desire and the passion for this project is clear.
“Council has a well-planned solution, but the reality is that without a state funding commitment, we cannot realise this project in the foreseeable future.
“This project provides an opportunity for state, federal and local Government together with the local community achieve something incredible for the people of Korumburra and the surrounding areas.”