Labor policy forces Moe Kinder and Childcare closure

After 30 years of operation, Moe Central Childcare and Kindergarten Centre was forced to close its doors this month.

Citing workforce shortages caused by the Andrews Government’s Early Childhood Education policy, The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath said the loss of Moe Central Childcare and Kindergarten was a tragic loss for the community.

“Locals have relied on the professional services provided by Jan and Gary Mason for decades and now there is a void in early childhood education in the Moe community caused by the Andrews government,” said Ms Bath.

“The owners were at their wits end, trying to recruit staff for their well-respected day-care and kinder programs.”

Speaking in State Parliament Ms Bath highlighted that the Moe childcare centre provided kindergarten and childcare services for ‘out-of-home care’ and ‘child protection’ children.

“At any one time, this centre provided professional early childhood education and care to 12 young children living in vulnerable circumstances – now where will they go?

“Business owner, Gary explained to me that there is simply not enough qualified staff to meet current demand, let alone Labor’s expected further increase in hours for three- and four-year-old kindergarten.

“Labor has no tangible plan to solve this immediate problem, any announcement to train and recruit staff won’t be effective for years, placing further pressure on our early childhood education and childcare centres.

“Responding to my questioning in parliament, the Minister for Early Childhood, Ingrid Stitt, said she would ‘get’ a ‘strong pipeline of teachers and educators over the next decade’ – our children and families cannot wait that long.” Ms Bath said.

“The Minister says she have will have ‘more to say’ about supports available to attract childcare workers – but these are empty words for Gary and Jan Mason and for Moe families whose centre has already been forced to closed.”

The Nationals candidate for Morwell Martin Cameron, said the loss of a 30-year service to Moe will be keenly felt by vulnerable children and the wider community.

“The perverse outcome of Labor’s childcare policies is the Latrobe Valley disastrously has significantly reduced access to early childhood education and care.

“Labor has been in government for the past eight years, and this is another frustrating example of Daniel Andrews failure to attract and retain qualified workers in our region.

“The Andrews Government’s poor policies and planning are hurting our community, families, and children.

“If elected I will commit to working with early childhood educators to develop real solutions, so all public and private Latrobe Valley kindergartens and childcare centres flourish.”