Ripon MP Louise Staley has welcomed news that the Andrews Government has finally buckled to strong public pressure and has abandoned their ill-conceived push to restrict supported playgroups places to only healthcare holders.
Dunolly residents were furious when they discovered Daniel Andrews plans to restrict places in supported playgroups to only those with health care cards, leaving a lot of families high and dry in towns with only one playgroup such as Dunolly.
Now, as long as there are places still available after healthcare card holders have been looked after, then anyone can also access a supported playgroup.
Ms Staley, who raised the issue in Parliament, worked with residents to pressure the Government by launching a letter writing campaign and collecting signatures for a petition.
Member for Ripon Louise Staley said she was glad sanity had prevailed and was proud of the Dunolly community for standing up to the Andrews government.
“I am thrilled to see Daniel Andrews has finally seen sense on this issue, this is a big win for the Dunolly community”. Ms Staley said.
“People power has won out; this community has sent Daniel Andrews a message that country children matter too”.
“The community of Dunolly and Central Goldfields Shire deserve to be congratulated”.
Shadow Minister for Families and Children Georgie Crozier welcomed the change in government policy.
“Local families would have been left in the lurch, all because of a State Government hell bent on forcing Melbourne rules on Regional Victoria”. Ms Crozier said.
Ms Crozier added, “Ms Staley is a relentless and tenacious fighter who has helped score a big win for her community”.
This latest backflip is the second in two weeks by the Andrews Government on early childhood programs. Questions in Parliament revealed they had reneged on their promise of free kindergarten in drought affected areas and parents were receiving bills. After this exposure, the Government was forced to implement their promise of free kindergarten for all in drought affected areas.