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Granny Glasgow Education and Care

On 19 February I joined in a triple celebration in Carnarvon in the Gascoyne region of Durack when I went to the highly regarded Granny Glasgow Education and Care centre. All up, the Australian government has invested more than an $850,000 in this centre, which is Carnarvon's only long day care centre. Child care is a major issue in Durack, especially in Carnarvon, with stories of families leaving town or not coming to town to take up work simply because they cannot get appropriate child care for their children. To illustrate the point, the nearest childcare service is in Exmouth, 370 kilometres away, or Northampton, 420 kilometres away. I was thrilled when Chris Shannen of Gascoyne Construction told me that the Granny Glasgow extension works were on time and on budget. We will see the number of child care places expand, with an extra 18 taking the total up to 79, due to the recent federal government grant of $420,000. It will see staff numbers—which means local employment, and that is good news—expand from 19 to 25.

The second celebration was for Gwen Gibson. who retired on the day of my visit. A foundation staff member, she has cared for families and children of Carnarvon for more than 27 years in the same centre. That is dedication for you. Flanked by Granny Glasgow, chair of the management committee, Sue Jordan, and the director, Fawn Law-Davis, who has also been at the centre of some 26 years, which is very impressive, I presented Gwen with the commemorative certificate—such a small token for an incredible dedication. The warmest congratulations go to Gwen, who is a much-loved carer of Carnarvon.

Thirdly, the joy to be able to undertake qualifications, with around $30,000 from the federal government, was palpable amongst the staff that I spoke to. The director, Fawn Law-Davis, has completed her bachelor, and all other staff members are now undertaking a form of study ranging from bachelor, certificate III, diploma or online courses. I was told it was making a huge difference and that the staff members were really enjoying their education. They are learning so much. Of course, it is imperative that the funding continues through to the next year and beyond to enable team members to complete their qualifications.

It is very clear to me that the Granny Glasgow early learning centre is a much-loved community resource and is vital for parents who need quality day care. The extensions will make this centre an even more enjoyable place for children to learn and grow. A vigorous supporter of local business, I was delighted that Gascoyne Constructions was awarded the contract for the extensions. It is a local business employing local workers, and that brings economic benefits to the whole community in Gascoyne more broadly. I will be very pleased to return next year to see the finished product.

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