Help shape your child’s future

Parents across the Latrobe Valley are encouraged to have their say on council’s draft municipal early years plan.

Council yesterday released the draft 2016/17 document for further community consultation, aimed at tailoring the region’s early years policies to suit local circumstances.

The plan describes council’s role in planning and infrastructure development, as well as advocacy and community development for children between birth and eight years old.

Community consultation on the proposal began in October 2014, with more than 300 people participating in community engagement activities and an additional 213 people completing a survey on early childhood needs.

The draft plan was then developed in collaboration with the Early Years Reference Committee and approved for final consultation at Monday’s council meeting.

Focusing on three strategic directions for early years learning – growing up happy, healthy and safe; learning for life; and strong families, strong communities – it also seeks to target areas of deficit, including below state average attendance to maternal and child health visits, and low breastfeeding rates.

Latrobe City’s Early Years Reference Committee chair Kellie O’Callaghan said that in order to do so, local input was needed.

“We consulted with the community on the document, but now it’s out we want to hear from the families who will be using our early years’ services,” Cr O’Callaghan said

“If we know we have a deficit in a particular area, we can focus our planning around increasing services and participation.

“If it’s a health or wellbeing outcome it could be participation in targeting playgrounds or preschools and getting families more actively engaged in early years activities.”

The consultation period offers families the opportunity to express what support and services are important to them.

It also seeks to uncover areas of early support where money could be better spent or where changes are needed, with Cr O’Callaghan encouraging parents to speak up.

“Have a read of the plan and tell us what in the plan you find useful – any feedback people want to provide will be valued and appreciated,” she said.

Community members are invited to have their say until Wednesday, 15 June.

Resident feedback will be considered and the document will be finalised, with the final plan expected to be presented to council for consideration in July or August.

The draft municipal early years plan, along with details on providing feedback, can be found at