The Andrews Labor Government is making sure a permanent solution is found for the Mallacoota Kindergarten, after its building suffered significant water damage after the bushfires.
Minister for Education James Merlino today announced up to $2.5 million will be provided to establish or reinstate a purpose-built kindergarten building in Mallacoota, as soon as possible.
The Labor Government will work with East Gippsland Shire Council, YMCA Ballarat, the kindergarten community, and Mallacoota P-12 College on finding the best permanent solution for the Mallacoota Kindergarten.
The Government has been working with Council and YMCA Ballarat over recent weeks on both the temporary solution and permanent options. The Department will now partner with the Council to lead this consultation, which will start immediately.
Options include installing a purpose-built modern modular kindergarten, with a playground and landscaping, at a preferred location or working with Council on reinstating the existing council-owned site.
The Mallacoota Kindergarten, owned by East Gippsland Shire Council, was damaged significantly after heavy rainfall in January. The kindergarten site had already suffered damage from smoke and ash during the bushfire.
Kindergarten programs are relocated temporarily to Mallacoota P-12 College to ensure local children can still attend kinder. A temporary toilet block will also be installed at the College for the kindergarten children.
The Labor Government has provided Mallacoota Kindergarten with a bushfire Kindergarten Fee Subsidy so four-year-old children can attend kindergarten programs for free.
Additional financial assistance has also been provided to the service to support the delivery of the kindergarten program, including replacing damaged toys and books and engaging additional staff.
In an Australian-first, the Labor Government has committed nearly $5 billion to deliver a full 15 hours of Three-Year-Old Kinder to every Victorian child over the next decade, with the roll-out already underway.
As noted by Minister for Education James Merlino
“It’s great local kids have been able to start kinder this year after their building was significantly damaged, but it’s important we find a permanent solution for kinder-aged children in Mallacoota. That is exactly what we have been working on.”
“Families in this community have enough to worry about, they shouldn’t have to worry about whether a kindergarten will be rebuilt. That is why we will ensure the community will have the facilities they need.”
As stated by the Member for Eastern Victoria Jane Garrett
“This is about certainty and support for families in Mallacoota, who have been through so much and just want to get back to their normal life and normal routine – like dropping the kids off their local kinder in the morning.”