Parents rejoice: Karoonda childcare centre funded

In larger towns, the cost of childcare makes it difficult for some to access, despite the subsidies available.

But in Karoonda, leaving young children in someone else's care for more than one day per week has not been an option at all – until now.

MP Tony Pasin visited the town with good news several days ago: the federal government had agreed to put $550,000 towards the cost of an early childhood centre.

The facility, to be purpose-built in the car park behind the institute hall, will also serve as a hub for other community services and activities, and will complement the current COGS mobile childcare service.

Mayor Caroline Phillips said the "incredible news" had been a long time coming.

"We know the provision of good quality, accessible, affordable and sustainable care will be a key component to our district's economic future," she said.

"This service will mean that when times are tough on the land, farming families can find other paid work off-farm and know their children will have quality care available, without having to travel hundreds of kilometres each day or rely on ageing grandparents to babysit.

"It will also mean we can attract new families to the district and support others to stay."

It would also benefit local businesses by freeing up parents of young children to fill job vacancies, she said.

The Karoonda East Murray council will employ several people to operate the service, beginning in the middle of this year.

Ms Phillips said several qualified carers had already expressed an interest in working there.

The funding for the project came from a program intended to spur economic activity in communities affected by drought.

"While much of the media attention of this drought has been focused on conditions in New South Wales and Queensland, I've been on the ground listening to people living through dry conditions here in Barker," Mr Pasin said.

"I understand that things are tough for individuals and communities.

"This is why I fought for the Drought Communities Program to be extended into the driest regions of SA.

"Drought not only impacts our farmers, but entire towns and regions that rely on agricultural output for survival.

"Government can't make it rain, but we are doing what we can to support our regions through tough times."

A million dollars were made available to the Karoonda East Murray council through the drought program.

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