For the past eight years Cohuna has battled hard to secure childcare to help the town grow.
But the town continues to face an uphill battle attracting professionals without having the childcare facilities necessary for long-term investment.
Which is why a Liberal and Nationals Government will provide the $800,000 the town’s progress association and Gannawarra Shire has been pleading with the Victorian Government to contribute to getting a childcare centre built and open.
Leader of The Nationals and Member for Murray Plains, Peter Walsh, said the situation has been deteriorating, with Covid lockdowns making it difficult to attract teachers, police and nurses, who are not staying because they don’t have family support in town.
“Cohuna should be a thriving, and growing, regional hub. The town is looking to have a childcare service that could fill at least 80 places through day care, long day care and a kindergarten,” Mr Walsh said.
“And it’s not as if this seriously proactive community has been sitting on its hands – the shire has kept pushing the formal line while the progress association committee has been going after the money itself.”
Cohuna kicked off fundraising with a star-studded fundraising dinner, attracting celebrity chef Manu Fieldel, TV personality Kerri-Anne Kennerley and radio commentator Alan Jones.
That first fundraiser raked in about $27,000 – which would help fund a consultant to keep the childcare project moving forward.
“As a Government that will serve all Victorians, not just those in Melbourne, we won’t be waiting eight years to solve a problem as serious and as frustrating as this one,” Mr Walsh said.
Shadow Minister for Early Childhood and Children, David Hodgett, said the Cohuna community deserves better than Labor’s inaction.
“Cohuna has been lobbying for this project for quite some time. Children and families in the area deserve to have a vital service such as childcare,” Mr Hodgett said.
“This commitment means Cohuna won’t be waiting on a Government that doesn’t give regional Victoria the attention it deserves.”