Labor called on to address closure threat to Willow Grove kinder

A doubling of funded kinder to 30 hours a week over the coming decade is placing the future of the Willow Grove kindergarten in jeopardy.

Raising the issue in state parliament on behalf of the community, The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath has called on the Allan Labor Government to meet with a delegation from Willow Grove to explore its need for a new kinder facility.

“Willow Grove kinder currently rents space in the town’s multipurpose hall as it has done for 40 years, consistently attracting annual enrolments of around 20 students.

“Sharing a public facility, access is balanced between user groups and there’s no availability to accommodate the directive to increase kinder to 30 hours a week.

“Understandably it is of great concern to locals that there is no current alternate location and planning must begin to build one.

“I was pleased the Minister for Children, Lizzie Blandthorn was in the chamber and heard my request firsthand.

Member for Narracan, Wayne Farham said the Allan Government must immediately address the issue, so the Willow Grove kindergarten is not forced to close.

“A delegation is willing to come to Parliament House to hold preliminary discussions on the kinder’s future – the Minister owes them an audience,” said Mr Farnham.

“It’s all well and good to double kinder hours but the workforce and facilities must be established to accommodate the policy”.

Ms Bath said the absence of an early learning centre would have significant flow on effects to enrolments at the Willow Grove Primary School – both educational services are greatly valued, and locals deserve to have both retained.

“We are asking the Minister to meet with the Willow Grove delegation and explore the virtues of establishing a new kinder, so this long running early childhood education program continues to serve the community for another 40 years.”