I rise to congratulate the Warrnambool City Council on being commended in statewide awards recognising excellence in early childhood services. The council’s Welcome to Warrnambool Early Years Service helps in making it easier for children born overseas to make the transition to kindergarten and has been highly commended at the second annual ‘early years’ awards in the category of ‘Better access to child and family support health services and early education’.
Warrnambool child and family services and the Warrnambool community developed the community support project that will improve the understanding of and access to early childhood services for newly arrived Sudanese families. It is wonderful to see the Warrnambool City Council being recognised by the Brumby government for its exceptional dedication to improving health, learning, development and wellbeing of children in their early years, especially young refugee children like those of newly arrived Sudanese families.
It is also encouraging to see that the Warrnambool City Council and the people of Warrnambool have not been persuaded by certain policies of the federal government, like the decision to drastically cut the number of Sudanese refugees — some of the most needy people in the world. Instead of creating another barrier by introducing a ridiculous citizenship test, as the federal government has, the Warrnambool City Council is encouraging and assisting relocation and settlement with this program.
Again, I congratulate the Warrnambool City Council, the support services and the people of Warrnambool for an outstanding achievement which has resulted in 90 per cent employment of the Sudanese people in Warrnambool.