[singlepic id=187 w=320 h=240 float=left]Cairns Southern Corridor families will have improved access to a broader range of early childhood services with the announcement of a purpose–built early years centre to open mid 2011.

Premier Anna Bligh today visited the site at Bentley Park College in the southern growth corridor of Cairns, saying it will provide children with access to a range of services and programs to support their health, safety and development and to expand learning opportunities.

“The purpose-built early years centre will be located on the Bentley Park College site in Edmonton and will finalise the Queensland Government’s 2006 $32 million commitment to deliver four integrated early years centres around the state,” she said.

“I congratulate the Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt and the local community for the strong case they put forward for this facility.

“The new centre will provide a range of integrated early childhood education and care, parenting and family support and child and maternal health services for families with children aged up to eight years.

“A kindergarten program will also be provided to ensure that Cairns children get a flying start to learning and life.

“Importantly, co-locating the new centre on a school site offers significant benefits for parents and children alike.

“Having a range of early years services available within such close proximity to the school means that accessing family support, kindergarten and child care services will be that much easier for Cairns families.”

Premier Bligh said the site at Bentley Park College was selected due to its location between Edmonton and Mount Sheridan, which together with Bentley Park have a high population of children aged up to four years in Cairns.

“We also know that there is a shortage of early years services in the Bentley Park area, including community child health services and playgroups,” she said.

“The centre will also establish satellite services around the central hub to provide even more co-ordinated support to families with young children in the greater Cairns community.

“That’s why this new early years centre at Bentley Park College will give Cairns families the very best community-based early years facility in far north Queensland.”

Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt said the announcement of the early years centre is an example of the Bligh Government delivering for the fast-growing southern corridor.

“This is a great outcome for parents who want to learn new skills, access support services and have their children to access quality early education,” he said.

“An early years centre is exactly what is needed in the southern suburbs and it will work in conjunction with existing early childhood education and care services in the area.

“This vital community infrastructure is an acknowledgement of the existing needs of families in the known growth corridor of Cairns, as well as those services that we’ll need to address in the future.”

An invitation for non-government organisations to apply for funding to operate the early years centre and its satellite services will be made in the near future.

The Queensland Government is committed to delivering universal access to a world-class education system including significant investment in early childhood services.

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