Media release - Councils welcome $500 million early childhood pledge

5 March 2019

An ALP election pledge will significantly boost the quality and availability of early childhood education for families, according to NSW councils who own and operate more than 300 early childhood education and care services across the state.

Labor has promised a $500 million package for early childhood education in NSW, which includes proposed funding boosts for three- and four-year-olds in community preschools, first-time funding for three-year-olds in Long Day Care Centres, a Specialist Early Intervention trial program and money for assessment and rating experts.  

Labor has said its package will be jointly funded with Federal Labor – a move that has sparked criticism from the State Government as “hypothetical” and dependent on the election of a Federal Labor Government.

Local Government NSW (LGNSW) President Linda Scott said the peak body had consistently called on all parties to work with the federal government to ensure all NSW children had access to affordable, high-quality early learning for at least two days a week, for the two years before formal schooling.

“We stepped up our advocacy following the State Budget where funding was announced for three-year-old children in community preschools only,” Cr Scott said.

“We know the issue of availability of early childhood education and care is one that many councils, particularly in regional areas, are grappling with.

“The majority of child care services provided by councils across NSW are long day care centres, not preschools – and families, particularly in rural and remote areas, may not have a choice as to which service type they attend.”

Cr Scott said LGNSW and 25 other early childhood peak bodies, unions, providers and academics had previously called on the next NSW Government to make a firm commitment to:

  • universal access for all three- and four-year-old children in NSW
  • extra support so disadvantaged and/or vulnerable children can fully participate in early childhood education
  • the continuation of the National Quality Framework.

“LGNSW has also called for disadvantaged and/or vulnerable children to be able to fully participate, so the $18 million specialist early intervention trial program is great news,” she said.

“We similarly support the announcement of a $10 million early childhood education professional development program.

“Now that the NSW Opposition has revealed their early childhood education platform, we call on the Berejiklian-Barilaro Government to match these commitments.”

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