NSW Budget commits to ECEC again
The Sector > Policy > Politics > NSW Budget 2024 sees commitment to ECEC continue to broaden

NSW Budget 2024 sees commitment to ECEC continue to broaden

by Jason Roberts

September 19, 2023

The New South Wales FY2024 Budget has been released in which the state’s ongoing commitment to boosting investment in the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector has continued. 


This year’s budget includes a combination of investment spend in new preschools as well as budget for affordability, accessibility and workforce related initiatives and importantly maintains prior commitments of $5.0 billion and $5.7 billion for the Childcare and Economic Opportunity Fund and funding over 10 years for universal preschool access.


“We were elected with a mandate to reinvest in essential services – and that includes giving children the best possible start in life, and a great education,” Premier of New South Wales Chris Minns said.


“We know how important early education is to a child’s development. These are big reforms that will impact the way we deliver early education in NSW.”


100 new preschool sites confirmed with $20m earmarked for not for profit services


This year’s budget will see $849 million allocated to investment in new ECEC services with a view to increasing the number of licenced places available to the NSW electorate. 


These include:


  1. $769.3 million for 100 new preschools on public school sites
  2. $60.0 million towards new and upgraded non-government preschools
  3. $20.0 million to support the growth of not-for-profit ECEC services in high demand areas


Ten sites due to be constructed have been confirmed with the remaining 90 sites being selected based on an analysis of educational need, child development outcomes and projected future demand for preschool access.


“The NSW Government is proud and excited about the progress we are making on delivering more early childhood places across the state,” Deputy Premier and Minister for Education and Early Learning Prue Car said.


“This is the largest expansion of public preschools in NSW history.”


Preschool relief and new flexible initiatives trial pledged for 2024


From an affordability and accessibility perspective the 2024 Budget included measures designed to support families with the cost of preschool and also increase access to preschool via a new flexibility initiative. 

The key affordability pledges are as follows:


  1. Providing $500 per year in fee relief for children attending 3 year old kindergarten in long day care (LDC)
  2. Providing $4,220 per year in fee relief for 3 to 5 year olds in community and mobile preschool
  3. Providing $2,110 in fee relief for children aged 4 years and older attending preschool in LDC


It is understood that these funding streams will be administered through the existing Start Strong Funding programs. 


The key accessibility pledge is:


  1. Providing up to $20.0 million for the Flexible Initiatives Trial to expand access to early childhood education and care, extend hours, and assist parents re-entering the workforce.


No further details on the trial have been released yet. 


“This government is committed to making sure all children in NSW get the best start in life,” Ms Car said. 


“Achieving that goal includes making the investments necessary to make preschool more affordable and accessible for all families.”


Workforce related pledges include professional development and low cost ECEC care


The NSW Government has also earmarked substantial funds to support the ECEC workforce as well as creating a new commitment to build business capability in the sector. 


The key workforce related pledges are:


  1. $22.0 million to recruit and retain essential early childhood workers including professional development and scholarships for tertiary education of early childhood workers.
  2. Up to $6.5 million for the business capability development program for leadership, management, and financial capability development.
  3. A trial of free or low cost ECEC for the children of ECEC teachers and carers.


An additional $200.0 million for children who need Out-of-Home Care will provide permanency services and post-care support. The majority of this will go towards NGO service providers and the provision of emergency arrangements for children and young people who cannot live safely at home. 


Longer term, the Government is committed to implementing whole-of-system reform that ensures a financially sustainable system while improving outcomes for children.


To review this year’s budget papers please click here

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