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The Sector > Policy > Politics > Labor secures victory in NSW state election – Unpacking the key ECEC pledges

Labor secures victory in NSW state election – Unpacking the key ECEC pledges

by Jason Roberts

March 27, 2023
Image features members of the NSW Labor Party in 2023, against a solid red backdrop

The Labor Party of New South Wales has won the 25 March State Election, securing at least 47 of the 93 available seats in parliament and returning to power after twelve years in opposition. 

 

The win will see new Premier Chris Winns lead the state at a time when early childhood education and care (ECEC) issues are increasingly becoming central to campaign promises on all sides of the political spectrum. 

 

With Labor now in power the following pre-election pledges that focus on ECEC are ones to watch:

 

Universal access  

 

Although no comprehensive plan is available NSW Labor repeated that it will take tangible steps towards universal preschool for four year olds before 2030 with the preschool roll outs planned for its first term in Government a tangible demonstration of its commitments. 

 

Note: The coalition had pledged to introduce a universal pre-kindergarten year in the year before primary school by 2030 that will provide free preschool for five days a week for every child in NSW.

 

Preschool roll outs  

 

The NSW Labor Government has committed to building 100 new preschools in its first term which will be funded by the $3.8 billion for early childhood initiatives allocated in the last state Budget. It will also invest $60 million in new and expanded preschools co-located at non-government schools with 50 non-government schools benefiting from the funding.

 

Note: The coalition had pledged $15.4 billion over the next seven years to build 500 new preschools, roll out a new affordable preschool initiative and create over 47,000 child care places via its $5 billion Childcare and Economic Opportunity Fund. 

 

Upskilling programs 

 

Premier Minns committed to making available $9 million worth of scholarships for educators who want to upskill to both bachelor degrees and diplomas. Under the program, students will be able to stay in the workforce while they learn and receive financial support to assist with course fees, study materials and other expenses. 

 

The scholarships could be worth up to $25,000 scholarships with as many as 500 available. 

 

Note: The Coalition pledged to offer an accelerated degree for educators to gain a teaching qualification in two years instead of four. 

 

Professional development 

 

A new Professional Development Fund will be created. The fund will support paid professional development leave to educators, regardless of qualification. It is unclear how the fund will be set up but it is understood that both providers and educators will be involved in the application processes. 

 

The new fund will be seeded with $10 million.

 

Note: The Coalition did not pledge any professional learning focused initiatives. 

 

ECEC delivery models funding research 

 

NSW Labor will also set aside $3 million for a new study into childhood delivery models, to improve the availability and efficacy of early childhood education. The research will include a focus on a strong workforce pipeline, to deliver early learning now and into the future for NSW.

 

Note: The Coalition did not pledge any professional learning focused initiatives. 

To learn more about the Labor victory in the context of ECEC, please see here.

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