The news of a proposed childcare centre in Boggabri couldn't come soon enough for parents.
A development application for Idemitsu’s Boggabri Coal's proposed centre is on public exhibition until February 28, after being lodged with Narrabri Shire Council on January 11.
The long day care would make a "hell of a difference" for Leasha Jade, who lives and works in Boggabri but has to drive into Gunnedah five days a week to pick up and drop off her daughter at childcare on top of full-time work hours.
"I do two different shifts - one week I [work from] 7am to 4pm, but day care in Gunnedah doesn’t open until 7.30," she said.
"So I get both my children up at 6am, get them both ready for their day, leave home at 7 to be in Gunnedah by 7.30, drop off my daughter then turn around and come back to Boggabri to drop my son at school to then get to work at 8," Leasha said.
"[By] then I am an hour late. To make that up, I then finish at 5 and go back to Gunnedah to pick up my daughter by 5.30.
"I have been doing it for one-and-a-half years with my daughter."
Leasha said she had lived in Boggabri for 11 years and had hoped the town would have a centre by now.
"I believe it would encourage more families to town, instead of workers travelling to Boggabri whilst leaving their families behind because Boggabri doesn’t have the facilities for working families," she said.
"It is a shame [there isn't a centre] because it’s the perfect place to bring up young children. Unfortunately, in this day and age you have to have two working parents to get ahead."
Boggabri doesn’t have the facilities for working families.Leasha Jade
Another mum, whose family is new to town, said lack of childcare there was making it hard for her to secure work.
"It’s been really difficult to apply for part-time or casual jobs, because I can’t guarantee care for my kids," she said.
"I’m new so I don’t have a family network and I don’t have something in place, so a childcare centre would be great."
Last year, she was driving to Gunnedah twice a week to drop her kids at a local centre.
"I think there’s a big need in the market," she said.
"There are no options between 0-3 [years of age] in Boggabri."
With farming and mining Boggabri's dominant industries, the mum said it was vital for the proposed childcare centre to be flexible.
"People don’t work Monday to Friday, 9 to 5, anymore," she said.
"Providing care on a Saturday could be the difference between someone being able to take on a mining roster or not.
"It needs to be super flexible. They need to provide something the community wants."
The mum said it was important to keep kids in Boggabri.
"If kids go to a childcare centre in Gunnedah, their friends will be there and by the time they go to school, chances are they’ll go to Gunnedah, whereas if you go to childcare in Boggabri, it just starts that relationship from the beginning," she said.
It needs to be super flexible. They need to provide something the community wants.Boggabri mum
The 397 square metre centre could accommodate 32 children ages 0-12 years, with the potential for after-hours care.
“We are at the very early stages of the planning assessment process for the childcare centre and we encourage members of the public to participate in that process by lodging a submission during the advertising period,” the council's planning and regulatory services manager Daniel Boyce said.
The development application can be viewed at www.narrabri.nsw.gov.au or at council’s administration building on Maitland Street, Narrabri.
Submissions can be posted or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org by February 28.