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Golden spade launches dream

CONSTRUCTION began on Korumburra’s $5.3 million Karmai Community Children’s Centre on Friday.

McMillan MP Russell Broadbent, who fought hard for the federal funds contributed to the project, turned the first symbolic sod with a gleaming golden shovel.

The centre will be a purpose built facility offering 120 new places for child care, kindergarten and out of school hours’ care, along with maternal health services and a training facility for childhood educators.

It will include the construction of three long day care rooms and two early learning rooms, two interchangeable maternal and specialist consulting rooms, various indoor and outdoor play spaces, and meeting rooms.

The ceremony followed a series of speeches in front of a gathering of dignitaries and residents, many of whom had close personal involvement in bringing this day about, at the Mair Crescent site off Princess Street.

The president of the Karmai Community Children’s Centre Committee, Bronwyn Beach, gave a speech which Mr Broadbent said would stand up in any parliament.

“We have dreamt about this day,” Mrs Beach said, “and now it is a reality.”

She told the gathering every candidate who ever stood for a seat, at all tiers of government, was lobbied by the committee.

The committee is now widely regarded as a role model for how to go about achieving outcomes of this kind.

Mrs Beach said the project has been brought about through partnership and collaboration, and by knowledge and expertise, not role or title.

Mrs Beach said the new centre will address the increasing childcare needs of the community and will break the cycle of disadvantage experienced by many in the community.

She said the new centre will also “empower families by making it easier for mothers to work and participate in the economy.”

She thanked South Gippsland Shire Council and said its commitment was integral in bringing about this day which Korumburra “truly needed and deserved.”

Mr Broadbent said the new centre would make a difference by addressing disadvantage.

“Intervention very early in a person’s life will take them somewhere they would never otherwise have got to in life,” he said.

“This town deserves this project.”

The centre will provide additional early learning and day care options to families in South Gippsland.

Eastern Victoria Region MLC Daniel Mulino offered the community the State Government’s congratulations.

He remarked that with multiple layers of government and politicians of different stripes involved in bringing the project to reality, “there are lots of areas of policy where there is agreement on what communities need.”

He said local families would benefit from better access to quality early childhood services at an important time in their child’s development.

Mayor Cr Bob Newton said the centre would be known as the ‘Karmai Community Children’s Centre’ following the amalgamation of Korumburra Kindergarten and Birralee Childcare Centre.

“This is an absolutely fantastic day for South Gippsland,” he said.

“Hats off to the people on the committee who have worked so hard. Council thanks you and Korumburra will thank you long into the future.”

Locally, 24 jobs are expected to be created during construction and another 27 ongoing jobs are expected to be created once the facility is complete.

The Karmai Community Children’s Centre is jointly funded by the Federal and State governments ($1.6 million each), the council (over $2 million) and the Karmai Community Children’s Centre Inc. ($100,000).

A notable absentee from the proceeding in Korumburra was Peter Ryan, who as Deputy Premier of Victoria, was a champion advocate of the Karmai project.

The former Gippsland South MLA’s tireless work towards making this golden shovel day a reality was mentioned over and over again.

Golden day: front, from left, Tyler Mortimer, Maeve Butler, Archie Simcock, Kaiya Muranty and Alex Beach gather around the golden spade as the first sod is turned to mark the official start of construction of the new Karmai Community Children’s Centre. Back, from left, centre vice president Rebecca Marriott; Gippsland South MLA Danny O’Brien; McMillan MP Russell Broadbent; centre president Bronwyn Beach; South Gippsland Shire Council mayor Cr Bob Newton; and Eastern Victoria Region MLC Daniel Mulino.

Golden day: front, from left, Tyler Mortimer, Maeve Butler, Archie Simcock, Kaiya Muranty and Alex Beach gather around the golden spade as the first sod is turned to mark the official start of construction of the new Karmai Community Children’s Centre.
Back, from left, centre vice president Rebecca Marriott; Gippsland South MLA Danny O’Brien; McMillan MP Russell Broadbent; centre president Bronwyn Beach; South Gippsland Shire Council mayor Cr Bob Newton; and Eastern Victoria Region MLC Daniel Mulino.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=16779

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