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Mooroopna’s new early learning centre unveiled

By Ashlea Witoslawski

Designs for a new early learning centre in Mooroopna were unveiled by Victorian Education Minister James Merlino during his visit to Shepparton yesterday.

The Mooroopna Integrated Early Learning Centre is part of the Shepparton Education Plan, which was first announced in 2018 after the plan received $20.5 million in the 2018-19 state budget.

Set to be constructed next to Mooroopna Primary School on O'Brien St, the centre will offer three- and four-year-old kindergarten as well as long day care services.

It will also serve as a hub for the local community through a range of maternal and child health services.

Mr Merlino said he was delighted to unveil the new plans, highlighting the importance of giving parents and children the best start across the region.

“We want to make it easier for local families to access health services and other support that they might need,” he said.

“We’ve been talking a lot about secondary schools but the Shepparton Education Plan is about lifelong learning, from early years, primary school, secondary school and post secondary.

“We haven’t forgotten early years.”

The design unveiling also included the announcement of a 10-year partnership between the state government and the Colman Foundation.

The foundation is a not-for-profit group providing opportunities for children and families in disadvantaged communities.

Through their ‘Our Place’ program, the new Mooroopna Integrated Early Learning Centre will have access to different resources, including health and community services, adult education, training and employment support to fulfil the aspirations of the community.

Mr Merlino said the Our Place program will receive "about $300 000 per year to provide staff to complement the additional early learning staff we already have".

“This is a wonderful partnership and I’m so proud that we are able to deliver this,” he said.

“This is life-changing stuff.”

Member for Shepparton Suzanna Sheed said she was delighted by the partnership established between the Colman Foundation and the Victorian Government.

“That is a whole extra level of funding that will allow the centre to have more expertise and more staff working with families and children,” she said.

“It really adds a depth and a value to that early childhood experience.”

Ms Sheed said the centre was currently in the design phase and would begin construction early next year.

The project is expected to cost about six million dollars and is set for completion in 2021.

“We’ll be seeing two magnificent new facilities going up in our town over the next few years and it is for our young people, the people who deserve it the most,” Ms Sheed said.

With all necessary funds obtained to complete the early learning centre, Ms Sheed said she had her eyes firmly set on next year's state budget for the funding needed to complete the secondary college.

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