Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Speech in Parliament: Kirkbrae Homes and Kallista Kindergarten - 27 May 2015

Mr TONY SMITH (Casey) (09:56): Last Friday I visited Kirkbrae Homes in Kilsyth in the heart of the Casey electorate. Kirkbrae Homes is part of the Presbyterian Church of Victoria. It is an aged-care facility that began some 55 years ago on Mount Dandenong Road just at the foot of the Dandenong Ranges. It provides contemporary living for many local older people with a range of care needs from independent retired residents to those in need of higher care. There are currently 200 people residing at Kirkbrae. Last Friday I was able to be there with some of the leadership to turn to the sod on a new development that will see an upgrade and expansion that will become home to 80 more residents.

I was very pleased to meet some of the leaders including the Clerk of Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Victoria, Dr John Wilson. I was also pleased to meet, amongst others, the Chair of the Board of Kirkbrae Homes, Robert Lowe; the Chief Executive Officer, Mark Sketcher; Kirkbrae's Independent Living Unit Manager, Belinda Taylor; and Mr Sketcher's executive assistant, Lisa Stirling—who did such a great job pulling the day together. Kirkbrae has a wonderful history and a very strong future, and it was my pleasure to be there. I wish all the residents and the staff my very best in the next stage of their development.

Last Thursday I was pleased to join the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Education and Training, Senator Scott Ryan, at Kallista Kindergarten. Kallista is a community-based kindergarten offering a broad range of services for local families in the Casey electorate and in the Kallista township in particular. We were there because it is one of 41 kindergartens across the country which are participating in the rollout of the government's Early Learning Languages Australia trial, a policy we took to the last election. This program is seeing the students using play-based apps on iPads to learn a second language in a fun and focused way. The kindergarten students there were very well versed in this technology. Kallista Kindergarten is right next to Kallista Primary School, which also teaches Japanese. I was very pleased to be there and to meet the president of the committee, Kristy Sullivan; the director of the kindergarten, Lu-Ann Randall; and another parent, Lee Jones. I wish the Kallista Kindergarten community all the best with the trial.

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