Minister for Early Childhood Education Sarah Mitchell pays a visit to Leeton

CHILDCARE spaces are as valuable as gold thanks to limited places across the state. 

Minister for Early Childhood Education Sarah Mitchell dropped by Leeton on Monday for a number of purposes, including addressing concerns surrounding the childcare industry when it comes to securing a spot. 

She visited the Leeton Early Learning Centre to meet with Vicki Hester and Brae Leighton, who are recipients of the governments Rural and Remote Early Childhood Teaching Scholarship. 

Mrs Mitchell also spoke with staff and representatives from Leeton Shire Council. 

She said it was unique for the two staff members at Leeton to receive the scholarship, which assists with their university studies, given there are a limited number available. 

Issues such as the attraction and retention of early childhood teachers were also on the agenda. 

“To have two from this area receive the scholarships is wonderful,” Mrs Mitchell said. 

“I wanted to meet them and find out how it’s working for them and how it has benefited them.”

Mrs Mitchell said it was vital childcare services such as those provided by the Leeton Early Learning Centre were recognised for the hard work they put into shaping and educating young minds before they start school. 

With places limited across the state and parents concerned about rising costs to send their children to similar centres, Mrs Mitchell said she continued to fight the battle.

“I’m from a regional area (Gunnedah) and I’m also a mother,” Mrs Mitchell said. 

“I know and understand the struggles of parents.

“It’s a complicated area. 

“We work pretty collaboratively with the federal government.

“Parents need choice and they need flexibility of hours and services.

“We need to make sure we work together in terms of funding. 

"It’s an important sector for everyone involved.”