Michael Daley and Labor will extend funding for early childhood education in regional NSW to benefit every three and four-year-old as part of the single largest investment in early childhood education in NSW history.
This will include $292 million for programs such as mobile preschools in rural and remote areas and $15 million in grants to plug critical services gaps across regional NSW. Mr Daley and Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education, Kate Washington, made the announcement yesterday as part of a $500 million package for early childhood education in NSW.
Mr Daley said that under the Liberals and Nationals fewer than 20 per cent of three-year-olds receive state government funding for early childhood education.
“Labor will always prioritise education, from preschool to school to TAFE. We won’t splurge billions on Sydney stadiums,” Mr Daley said.
Labor’s package will be jointly funded with Federal Labor and will make early education and preschooling a priority by:
• Immediately doubling the funding for three-year-olds in community preschools in 2019-20 – reducing fees and increasing support services.
• Funding three-year-olds in Long Day Care centres for the first time, and doubling current funding per three and four-year-olds in Long Day Care centres – allowing providers to reduce fees, increase wages, and improve quality learning outcomes.
• Investing $292 million into a ‘Little Kids Big Futures’ fund – supporting communities with critical service gaps, improve access for disadvantaged students, boost mobile preschool services in rural and remote areas, and invest in Playgroups NSW services as a pathway to preschooling.
• Launching an $18 million ‘Specialist Early Intervention’ trial program – boosting access to allied health professionals such as occupational therapists, speech pathologists, and psychologists.
• Starting a $10 million ‘Early Childhood Education Professional Development’ program – providing support and training for early childhood education teachers and educators.
• Establishing an additional $15 million capital grants fund to address critical service gaps throughout NSW – increasing access and participation through additional and expanded services.
• Boosting funding for assessment and rating experts by $4 million – slashing the Liberal Government’s dangerous assessment and rating backlog. The Government’s failures have led to early childhood education providers waiting more than five years between assessment and rating.
Labor has already committed to saving parents from the “double drop off” by ensuring all new public primary schools have preschool, long day care or out-of-school-hours services on site.
The current Liberal-National Government has a long list of failures in the early education sector, with NSW having the highest fees and lowest participation rates in the country. Labor will also:
• Establish a Ministerial Advisory Panel with broad sector representation to meet at least quarterly;
• Review and improving Before-and After-School Care and mobile preschool tender processes; and
• Develop a long-term early childhood education sector road-map in consultation with the sector.