Dr Stanley Cochrane Memorial Kindergarten (30.08.2016)
Written on the 1 September 2016
GEORGIE CROZIER (LIB - Southern Metropolitan)
Ms CROZIER (Southern Metropolitan)
My adjournment matter this evening is for the Minister for Families and Children, and it relates to Dr Stanley Cochrane Memorial Kindergarten in Mitcham. The kindergarten was established in 1957 and it has been part of that community for almost 60 years. It has educated thousands of young Victorian children in their early years and provided a great source of community engagement for many parents who have had their children attend this kindergarten.
In 2014 the kindergarten applied for a grant as part of the children's facilities capital program, and at that time, under the former coalition government, it was granted a sum of $227 000. The kindergarten community also raised some additional funds to expand the facility to provide for new amenities to cater for parents dropping their children off and having meetings and the like. The money that was provided was to build new toilet facilities, a meeting room, a storeroom, an office, an adult bathroom and a cloakroom, and it was to be paid in three separate instalments.
The first two instalments of the $227 000 granted in 2014 have been paid, but the final instalment of $12 000 has not yet been received. The president of the kindergarten has written twice to the Department of Education and Training requesting information as to why the final funding has not been provided for the renovations and explaining that they are now out of pocket. The action I therefore seek from the minister is that she follow up on the whereabouts of the $12 000 as a matter of urgency and have it released to Dr Stanley Cochrane Memorial Kindergarten as was agreed to in 2014 so that they can finance their facility properly.
Ms MIKAKOS (Minister for Families and Children)
I also refer this evening to an adjournment matter raised with me by Ms Crozier. She referred to the Dr Stanley Cochrane kindergarten in Mitcham. She referred to a grant that this particular kindergarten was able to receive in 2014. She referred to the various instalment payments that have existed in the past and continue to exist in terms of the funding and service agreements that kindergartens are required to meet their obligations.
Ms Crozier queried the issue of a final instalment in the amount of $12 000. I obviously do not have information at hand in terms of what has occurred in relation to that particular final instalment, but I can assure the member that I will be raising this issue with my department and ensuring that they make contact with this kindergarten as quickly as possible to resolve this particular issue.
Obviously not being privy to exactly what the problem may well be, all I can say to the member and to assure the kindergarten is that we will look into this matter very quickly. I do also point out to Ms Crozier that, as she would be well aware, our government is very proud of the commitment we are making to our kindergartens in terms of infrastructure funding through $60 million of funding invested already over our first two budgets. This is a significant improvement in terms of what was made available in budgeted infrastructure for kindergartens by the previous government. I look forward to being able to provide the member and the kindergarten with an explanation about this matter.