Chelsea and Chelsea Heights Kindergartens

Mr RICHARDSON (Mordialloc) — I raise a matter this evening for the Minister for Families and Children. The action I seek is that the minister approve a funding swap arrangement between Chelsea Heights Kindergarten and Chelsea Heights Primary School which was put forward by the Kingston City Council.

It was just over a year ago that Chelsea Heights Kindergarten was set to be closed and moved to a site deemed by the City of Kingston to be unsuitable for development. This was a commitment made by the previous government. It was made at Chelsea Primary School without the consultation of the Chelsea Heights community and would have forced the closure of the Chelsea Heights Kindergarten on its current site, where it has been for nearly 50 years.

We took to the election a commitment for Chelsea Kindergarten and over a number of months set about trying to rectify this situation to keep Chelsea Heights Kindergarten at its current premises and to secure the future of Chelsea Kindergarten. After many meetings between council, myself and representatives of the Chelsea and Chelsea Heights kinders, we have come to an arrangement whereby Chelsea Kindergarten will be located on the Chelsea Primary School site and Chelsea Heights Kindergarten will have an upgrade on its current premises.

It goes without saying that this has been a pretty tumultuous time for the volunteer community committee at Chelsea Heights Kindergarten. I want to put on the record my strong appreciation for their work and the work of the educators there, particularly Sharon Cummins and Judy and Chris Curnow. I want to make special mention of the president of Chelsea Heights Kindergarten committee, Nicole Adams, who has been a wonderful advocate for her community. She has been on the phone to me numerous times throughout the year and has represented her community before Kingston City Council. It has been a significant time.

Kingston City Council will provide extra funding to support Chelsea Heights Kindergarten following a petition that we tabled in council. That will shore up the future of that kindergarten. The final step in that is for Kingston City Council’s proposal to be submitted to the Minister for Families and Children to change the arrangements for the funding allocated to Chelsea Heights Kindergarten to go to Chelsea Kindergarten and thus secure, for around $2.8 million, the future of these two wonderful kinders.

In conclusion, the action I seek from the Minister for Families and Children is that she approve the proposal to swap the funding arrangements that has been put forward by Kingston City Council in order to secure the future of these two kinders.