East Victoria Park: Billabong Community Early Learning Centre’s funding fears allayed

Shani Seneviratne (centre manager) with Jesse Wade, Viviane Coogen, Joshua Lewis and Charlie Pollard. Picture: Martin Kennealey www.communitypix.com.au   d483474
Shani Seneviratne (centre manager) with Jesse Wade, Viviane Coogen, Joshua Lewis and Charlie Pollard. Picture: Martin Kennealey www.communitypix.com.au d483474

NINETY six local families who rely on the services of Billabong Community Early Learning Centre have had their fears allayed after the State Government reinstated $4 million worth of funding to the sector.

The East Victoria Park not-for-profit is one of 64 centres that will receive a portion of the Government funds over the next four years for property maintenance, asset renewal, replacement costs and resources.

Centre manager Shani Seneviratne said educators, parents and staff believed the centre would have to close its doors in December and were thrilled to find out it would receive assistance to remain open.

“We have been working to save our centre since we received a letter in 2015 informing us that there was no funding available to support our service,” she said.

“Parents petitioned the Department of Communities and we approached our local MLA Ben Wyatt sharing our fears.

“He listened to our case, promising he would try everything he could to help the families we serve including the 296 on our waiting list and we sincerely thank him for his efforts.”

Billabong Community Early Learning Centre opened 1985 and the building requires maintenance and repairs including a new back sliding door, which does not align property, roof restorations and additional adult toilets as there is only one that cater for 17 staff plus parents.

Victoria Park MLA Ben Wyatt said the centre was an important community organisation that provided a significant resource local families depended on.

“The Government has listened to the communities concerns and this strategy will ensure that members of the Victoria Park community who utilise the services provided by Billabong Community Childcare Centre will have their needs met and ensure the centre can continue to provide their important activities and services,” he said.

East Victoria Park Family Centre will also receive funds.