$20m trial of ECEC access grants announced by NSW Government
The Sector > Economics > Affordability & Accessibility > $20m trial of ECEC access grants announced by NSW Government

$20m trial of ECEC access grants announced by NSW Government

by Freya Lucas

October 04, 2023

The New South Wales Government has launched a $20 million trial grants program aimed at improving working families’ access to early childhood education and care (ECEC) “when and where they need it most”.


The grant offers ECEC providers a pool of up to $20 million over two years to support existing ECEC services to expand and innovate, to better meet the needs of children and families and allow parents to enter the workforce or increase their hours.


Known as the Flexible Initiatives Trial, the grant stream will support new or adapted operating models which include:


  • Extending hours of care beyond traditional working hours
  • Providing flexible pick-up and drop-off times
  • Improved access to ad hoc care arrangements outside scheduled hours
  • Establishing new family day care services in remote areas.


The Flexible Initiatives Trial includes funding to ensure the workforce is supported to deliver flexible models of ECEC, and is one of a suite of ECEC programs to be delivered by the NSW Government in 2023-24, which aim to improve affordability and access.


“Flexible early childhood education and care options are a critical need for working families, particularly for parents and carers who are in part-time, casual or shift work,” said Acting Minister for Education and Early Learning Penny Sharpe.


As part of its recent Budget, the NSW Government affirmed a $5 billion investment in the Childcare and Economic Opportunity Fund (the Fund) to boost the early childhood workforce and make ECEC affordable and accessible for more families.


“Through the Childcare and Economic Opportunity Fund, exciting new initiatives are being developed to respond to the most pressing needs of the sector and the community,” Ms Sharpe added. 


As well as helping to deliver new initiatives which provide direct support to children, families and the ECEC workforce, the Childcare and Economic Opportunity Fund will be used to provide $500 per child of fee relief to three-year-old children attending eligible preschool programs in long day care centres, effective from early 2024.


Additional programs will be made available over the coming months.


All eligible ECEC service provider types are invited to apply for the Flexible Initiatives Trial, with funding to support family day care services on offer for the first time.


Applications are now open for the first round of the program, and close on 1 December 2023.


Visit the NSW Department of Education website for more information, including the program guidelines, eligibility and upcoming information sessions.

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