NSW Liberal/National Party announce additional 2,300 community places for preschoolers
An additional 2,300 places in new and existing community preschools will receive funding if the New South Wales Liberal/National party wins the state election to be held on 23 March 2019, the party has said.
Current NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced an additional $20 million would be invested into new and existing community preschools to allow them to build, renovate or extend their facilities to cater for increasing enrolments across the state.
The party said that the additional 2,300 community preschool places would be prioritised in areas of high demand and would bring the total number of new community preschool places committed by the NSW Liberals and Nationals since 2011 to more than 8,500, Ms Berejiklian said.
NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro said young families in regional communities would significantly benefit from today’s announcement, which comes as some commentators in the early childhood education and care (ECEC) community have been critical of the Liberal/National policy, noting that NSW are “significantly behind the rest of the country in ensuring all four year olds can attend preschool”, and noting that funding community preschool only is an oversight, as the majority of children in NSW attend preschool in long day care settings.
NSW Minister for Early Childhood Education Sarah Mitchell said that since the NSW Government introduced its Start Strong program in 2016, average daily fees in community preschools have decreased by 25 per cent and participation rates have increased by 40 per cent.
The Liberals and Nationals said they have made significant progress in the early childhood sector in NSW, with key achievements noted by the party being:
- Almost $200 million to extend Start Strong subsidies to all three year olds in community preschools;
- $62 million for capital works funding to accommodate for increasing enrolments;
- $30 million in funding to enhance participation and education outcomes for children with disability and additional learning needs;
- $16 million to better prepare children for preschool and promote the importance of early childhood education to parents across the state;
- $6 million to ensure that our NSW early childhood educators are equipped to teach our children in our rapidly changing world;
- $5 million to intensively engage services to help lift their performance and quality rating;
- More than $5 million to support preschools in drought-affected areas; and,
- More than $4.5 million to support the early childhood workforce through scholarship programs.
More information about the proposed funding can be found here.