Childcare expansion given go ahead

Mayor Rayner and George Kent shake hands on a deal to complete works by mid May.

Longreach parents will be excited to hear, the highly anticipated childcare centre has been officially given the thumbs up.

Regional Council Mayor, Tony Rayner signed on the dotted line, handing the contract to local builders Kent Constructions.

Partially funded by the Federal Government, the project will effectively double the usable space of the facility.

Council said the planned expansion of the centre will take place within the existing centre footprint, without the need to construct any new buildings.

The expansion will allow 28 more enrolments to Long Day Care services, as babies’ and toddlers’ rooms have increased in workable size.

The need to expand the centre was underlined earlier this year when Central West Hospital and Health Service advised that a record number of births were due to take place at the Longreach Hospital in the next 12 months.

According to Central West Health’s data, approximately 100 babies would be born in Longreach this year, at least half of which will be born to families residing in the Longreach region.

This meant Council forecasted an increase in demand in child care services in the coming new year, with no comparable service to the Longreach Childcare Centre.

The Longreach Regional Council anticipates the demand to continue into the next four-to-five years, until Primary School-age.

Council stated that the renovations could create up to 108 extra childcare places and support the employment of up to five additional roles in the medium to long term.

Construction will be executed in three separate stages between the end of January and mid-May.

Mayor Tony Rayner said securing a local contractor to deliver the works was a good outcome.

“We’re glad we’ve been able to secure a local builder to deliver this project, particularly considering how challenging it is to secure tradespeople at the moment,” he said.

“It means the project budget, including the commonwealth funding, will deliver the best value to our community and support our economy.

“It also means we can be more flexible about how we phase the construction and have minimal impact on families at the centre.”

Kent Constructions Business Owner George Kent said the project was an exciting one to work on.

“We’re delighted to have won the tender to complete this project here in our hometown,” he said.

“It’s nice to think we’ll be delivering works that will support such an important service and help grow our community.”