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Aboriginal early learning centre to decrease operation

An early learning centre in the far north-west of Western Australia will reduce its hours of operation.

Now in its seventh year, Wyndham Early Learning Centre (WELA) had just launched their new purpose-built building last year with then Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

According to WELA, their programs provide parents, carers and grandparents with the proficiencies required to help children get ready for school.

Former WELA Centre chairperson Estelle Hunter expressed her thoughts on the pending reduction of funding for the centre and said that as people from the Oombulgurri community live in the area, they need more funding, not less, to be able to provide outreach services for families who are not yet ready to go to the centre.

“In our town many families are disadvantaged and WELA makes a real difference in helping families to function better and get their kids ready for school,” she said.

Current centre manager Jane Parker echoes Hunter’s views, quoting the former Prime Minister’s report on “Closing the Gap 2013”, which says, “A child’s health and wellbeing from before they are born through to their preschool years helps to set them up for life.” Parker said that she doesn’t see why the statement from the report is now being contradicted by the Government’s decision to stop funding what she calls a service which has won awards, as well as gained positive assessment and delivering the required services.

“They say programs are being reviewed; we say that interim funding should be provided until the new scenario is clear,” she said.

Funding for WELA is scheduled to end starting on June 30, 2013. WELA has sought help from Kimberley Member Josie Farrer and Greens Senator Rachel Siewert, who will be asking questions at a state and federal government level.

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