Community resilience relies on secure childcare services
Federal Independent Member for Indi Cathy McGowan said today rural Australia needed comprehensive long-term policies and funding for childcare to provide a stable environment for families and contribute to strong and vibrant communities.
Ms McGowan presented a petition to Federal Parliament today from constituents in her Indi electorate calling on the government to provide additional funding for rural childcare facilities.
“This petition is a response to the announcement in December that five childcare centres in Indi were to close,” Ms McGowan said.
“Constituents at Bellbridge, where a centre was scheduled to close, immediately stepped up. Gennifer and Paul Hamam circulated a petition, gathering more than 300 signatures to keep the centre open.
“I am pleased to say community strength led to lobbying of government including the Minister for Education Dan Tehan and a visit to Wodonga by the Hon Craig Laundy to convene a roundtable for affected communities.
“Interim measures were put in place for centres at Bellbridge, Walwa and Mitta.”
“However, this is a short-term solution. Childcare services in rural areas are not the same as in metropolitan areas. Reliable childcare services provide environments young families need to stay in the area, seek local employment, and provide pathways to local schools,” Ms McGowan said.
“Without viable childcare, other services are impacted and can disappear. Families move away, depleting the community’s resilience and skills base.”
Ms McGowan called on the government to provide additional funding for rural childcare services and to develop a long-term policy to address the impact on small rural communities when childcare services were reduced or closed.
See the speech below.