Labor Upper House Member for Northern Victoria, Jaclyn Symes, today turned the first sod on Heathcote’s first long day care/early learning centre.


Ms Symes who secured $650,000 from the Andrews Labor Government funding for the facility, also revealed the name and logo for the town’s first children’s hub – Bunbunarik – which comes from the local Taungurung Clan and means children.

The Heathcote project will establish a hub and spoke model of early years and children’s services linking in with the local kindergarten, playgroup, primary schools and a raft of family health and wellbeing services.


The centre will provide 76 places per day including a recognised kindergarten program for 4 year olds and flexible long day care options.  Along with these educational facilities the Hub will also include consulting rooms for early childhood services such as a maternal child health nurse, Bendigo community health professionals, pastoral care counselling and a multipurpose community room.


“As a working mother of young children I know how vital childcare services in country towns are, a lack of services holds working parents back and means new families will choose other towns to move to,” Ms Symes said.


“Heathcote will now have a children’s hub which will attract new families to the town.


“Heathcote Community Children’s Services Association President, Sandra Slatter, championed this project and it has been fantastic working alongside her and the Heathcote community to deliver this facility.


“We know that high-quality early years education and care are vital to giving our children the best start in life, which is why Labor is investing in first-rate early learning facilities.


“This exciting new facility will ensure Heathcote families can access quality childcare services closer to home to get their children ready for school and set for life.”