Centre opens

By Hamish Heard
LAST week’s opening of a redeveloped Altona North Early Childhood Centre came not a minute too soon, with new figures showing a jump in births at Hobsons Bay.
The $420,000 redevelopment has nearly doubled the centre’s capacity from 30 to 58 children.
The opening came as figures showed that 1331 children were born in Hobsons Bay last year, a 10 per cent jump from 2001.
Minister for Early Childhood Development Maxine Morand said described the rejuvenated centre as a “one-stop shop” for children with or without disabilities. The revitalised centre features a range of new facilities including a new multi-purpose children’s room for speech pathology and physiotherapy, family support, group activities and family support.
It also boasts new play facilities and its exterior has been spruced up.
The State Government contributed $250,000 for the project, with Hobsons Bay City Council injecting $90,000 and Yooralla Society $80,000.
The member for Williamstown, Wade Noonan, said the extension of the Ronald Ave centre would boost opportunities for families with children with special needs to access early intervention services.
Hobsons Bay mayor Bill Baarini said facility the benefits of the centre will extend to families outside Hobsons Bay.
“It also provides a unique facility for the western region, catering for children with additional needs by using the Yooralla kindergarten model,” Cr Baarini said.
“The Altona North Early Childhood Centre is now a state of the art facility that meets the demand more effectively, and provides additional support for families,” he said.