South Gippsland Shire Council CEO Tim Tamlin, Member for Eastern Victoria Region Danny O’Brien, Karmai Community Children’s Centre Committee Vice President Rebecca Marriot and President Bronwyn Beach, Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan and South Gippsland Shire Council Mayor Jim Fawcett during last Friday’s funding announcement. C154114.
By Ash’lee Charlton
KORUMBURRA’S Karmai Community Children’s Centre will be completed by December 2015 after the State Government announced $1.6 million in funding toward the project last week.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan visited the Korumburra Kindergarten on Friday to make the long-awaited announcement.
“This is not about campaign promises or otherwise. The money is funded in the budget and is available now,” Mr Ryan said.
The $5.3 million project will provide 120 kindergarten places and improve access to maternal and child health and childcare for Korumburra and surrounding district families.
It will also generate up to 10 new jobs for both child educators and ancillary staff.
South Gippsland Shire provided the site at Mair Crescent and $2 million for the project, the Korumburra Community has raised $100,000 and the Federal Government is expected to contribute to the $1.6 million shortfall to complete the funding.
Mr Ryan said the new centre will give children access to the learning so vital to their early development.
“Parents and carers of young children will be able to come to the centre and access advice and support from maternal and child health, kindergarten and childcare services,” he said.
“The centre will enable a smooth transition from kindergarten to childcare which will be a blessing for working parents.
“The centre will also provide after-school care programs and rooms that will be available for the local community to use, and for vocational education and training opportunities.
“For the many families juggling the pressures of raising children with study or work, the Korumburra Integrated Children’s Centre will go some way to ease the stress by providing streamlined services.”
Six years’ work
The State Government contribution came after years of lobbying and planning by a dedicated committee led by vice president Rebecca Marriott, who said it was a day of celebration for the whole community.
“The committees (of the Korumburra Kindergarten and Birralee Childcare Centre) have already joined to form the Karmai Community Children’s Centre and are celebrating the announcement,” she said.
“For the past six years, with the support of the South Gippsland Shire Council, we have been working to make this project a reality for local families.
“This hub will meet the future demand for children’s services in the growing Korumburra community; this will mean better outcomes for families, who will have integrated support for their children.”
Ms Marriott said the facility will give local children access to the world’s best childcare practices, which will set them up for learning for life.
“It will also mean children who attend kindergarten can make a seamless transition to childcare; younger children in care will be reunited with older siblings attending after-school care programs,” Ms Marriott said.
“For women in Korumburra wanting to participate in the workforce, this will make a real difference.
“This makes the township of Korumburra an even more attractive place to live.”
South Gippsland Shire Council Mayor Jim Fawcett described the centre as “more than just a building”.
“It is a place of opportunity,” he said.
“Access to quality early childhood education and care will build resilience, social and economic capacity for Korumburra and the wider South Gippsland community.”