The contents of this page have been archived. This represents Council’s advocacy position prior to the 2022 State and Federal elections.
For updated information on any of these projects, please contact Council.
Statement from our Mayor Marcus Pearl on the proposed sale of early years education and care centres
Council has decided against selling three community-run early years education and care centres, subject to finalisation of funding arrangements.
This follows community consultation about the future of these centres - at 17 Eildon Road, St Kilda, 39 The Avenue, Balaclava, and 46 Tennyson Street Elwood – including with their operators.
Under the resolution, Council will seek to rebuild or renovate these centres if funding is received.
Council Officers have been discussing options for funding support with the Victorian and Australian Governments for major upgrades to our Council’s childcare centre portfolio. While these confidential discussions are still underway, we have released this update for transparency.
We can report there have been productive conversations with the Victorian Department of Education and Training about long-term early childhood infrastructure needs across our City, including at those three centres. Discussions with the Department about potential co-funding arrangements under the Building Blocks Partnership program are progressing well.
We remain committed to continuing to invest in infrastructure across Port Phillip and would welcome opportunities to partner with the Victorian and Australian Governments in this. This is consistent with our Council’s long history of providing and supporting early childhood learning and care. We own 17 facilities which provide over a third of our City’s licenced childcare places.
What is the ask?
Council requests to work with the Victorian and Australian Governments to fund the redevelopment of community-managed Childcare Centers across the municipality, starting with Eildon Road Children’s Centre (St Kilda), Elwood Children’s Centre (Elwood) and The Avenue Children’s Centre and Kindergarten (Balaclava).
What is the issue that this initiative will address?
The City of Port Phillip has a firm commitment to supporting quality early education and care including supporting collaboration across the early education and care sector, directly delivering early education and care and providing facilities meeting the needs of the community.
The City of Port Phillip property portfolio currently includes 17 facilities enabling the delivery of early education including community-managed childcare centres.
As noted in the Kindergarten Infrastructure and Services Plan (KISP) (PDF 516 KB), much of the portfolio is aging with these properties nearing the end of the working life.
Of particular note are the Eildon Road Children’s Centre St Kilda, Elwood Children’s Centre, and The Avenue Children’s Centre and Kindergarten Balaclava.
These much-loved centers are converted houses that can each accommodate approximately 40 children. They are no longer fit -for- purpose due to their age and design, and do not comply with contemporary standards of access, health and safety. The cost to remediate and renew the buildings is extensive and would involve long closures.
Significant investment is required to either remedy these centres and bring them to up to standard or rebuild them nearby.
Over the coming years an anticipated rise in demand, combined with the demise of existing kindergarten infrastructure, means that Our City will face early education place shortages, if there is no action on this issue.
What is Council proposing?
Council is planning options to meet growing childcare demands. This includes the redevelopment of existing community-managed childcare centres within the municipality to improve capacity and accessibility. Centers in need of urgent redevelopment include Eildon Road Children’s Centre (St Kilda), Elwood Children’s Centre (Elwood) and The Avenue Children’s Centre and Kindergarten (Balaclava).
The upgraded facilities would also meet relevant building codes and Disability Discrimination Act (DDA). The new centres would also better support staff in their delivery of this vital service by providing, a higher degree of functionality, safety and flexibility.
How does initiative align with the Council Plan and Government priorities?
City of Port Phillip Council Plan 2021-31: Inclusive Port Phillip. A city that is a place for all members of our community, where people feel supported and comfortable being themselves and expressing their identities.
We will provide delivery of services and programs for children, young people and their families and caregivers in our City that meet the aspirations of our Every Child, Our Future: Children’s Services Policy including:
- planning and support for children’s services to help all children and young people living in Port Phillip to develop to their full potential and to minimise the effects of disadvantage
- providing high quality Council-run early education and care services.
Council’s commitment is governed under our Children's Services Policy: Every Child; Our Future. Under this policy Council has identified three outcomes:
- All children living in Port Phillip are supported to develop to their full potential.
- Parents, carers and families are supported to increase their capacity and capability.
- The effects of disadvantage on children’s development are minimised.
The municipal Kindergarten Infrastructure and Services Plan (KISP 2021), developed in partnership with the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), highlights the need for pre-emptive investment in quality capacity to deliver extra kindergarten places. The plan estimates that by the end of the decade, there will be demand for hundreds of placements for three and four-year-old’s which cannot be met by the existing supply.
Under the Building Blocks program, Victorian Government funding is available to plan, build, expand and improve early years infrastructure across Victoria to provide kindergarten places. The aim is to ensure local families can continue to access great local kindergarten programs, no matter where they live.
Access to quality childcare is a federal priority and responsibility. The Australian Government currently provides childcare support through:
- direct financial assistance to families to help reduce the cost of care (Childcare Benefit CCB)
- financial assistance to certain types of childcare in terms of establishment and operating costs
- funding of quality assurance mechanisms
- extra support in remote and rural areas
- extra support for those with special needs
- a National Planning System to help co-ordinate the growth of the system
- funding of various information services.
Council is requesting the Australian Government to provide additional funding to support the maintenance and renewal of childcare infrastructure in the same way the Victorian Government supports renewal of kindergarten infrastructure.
How does the initiative assist the community to recover from COVID-19?
The project will help the community recover from COVID-19, by:
- immediately stimulating the local construction (and associated) industries,
- creating short- and long-term jobs, including additional employment in the care sector. This also directly supports women’s employment and incomes, as these sectors account for a high proportion of female employment.
- Contributing to the renewal of crucial childcare infrastructure fostering improved community connection and collaboration.
Cost and current status?
The project is estimated to cost approximately $15 million.
Council officers are consulting with the community and the Victorian Government on possible options for the three centres.
Preliminary designs and, cost analysis have been undertaken to support this work.