The Nationals Member for Euroa Annabelle Cleeland has highlighted the need for more accessible childcare across the region with young families in competition for a limited number of spaces.
The strong sentiment that childcare is becoming increasingly unobtainable has been backed by the Mitchell Institute’s 2022 report into ‘Childcare deserts and oases’.
The report categorises deserts as regions where there are less than 0.333 childcare places per child aged four and under.
Ms Cleeland said the report showed several deserts across the electorate of Euroa.
“Kilmore-Broadford, Benalla Region and the Seymour Region are all classified as childcare deserts by the Mitchell Institute with a dearth of available places,” Ms Cleeland said.
“Our major towns aren’t inaccessible backwaters, but they are placed at a disadvantage when childcare is so rare.
“I’ve spoken to so many parents who are wanting to get back into the workforce but can’t because they are unable to get their kids into childcare.
“This is a real handbrake for us and places a hurdle in front of young people who want to raise their family in the country.
“We’ve got incredible local childcare providers but in some places there’s up to six kids competing for each place. It’s simply not sustainable.”
Ms Cleeland welcomed the news that Seymour would be receiving a new childcare centre to alleviate some of the strain on the system locally.
“The government’s commitment to a new centre in Seymour is very welcome and I’ll be seeking some information around the timeline of its delivery,” Ms Cleeland said.
“There’s still plenty of work to be done when smaller communities like Murchison, Rushworth, Tooborac and Redesdale have no childcare at all.
“There are intense cost of living pressures on households now and nearly every family with young children is dependent on two incomes to financially survive.
“A simple solution is to enable both parents to work by having accessible childcare.
“As a mother of two young kids I have experienced firsthand the challenges of accessing childcare and how difficult life can be without that security.
“I’m determined to work with our communities and families to improves local access to childcare.”