Families across NSW will have more choice than ever before when it comes to enrolling their children in preschool, with the NSW Liberals & Nationals announcing an extra 2300 places for the State’s littlest learners.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian today said an additional $20 million will be invested into new and existing community preschools to allow them to build, renovate or extend their facilities to cater for increasing enrolments across the State.

“We know what a difference a quality early childhood education has on our children, which is why we are investing even more to make our preschools more affordable and more accessible than ever before,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“This investment, only possible due to the strong economic management of the NSW Liberals & Nationals, means preschools can dream bigger and more children will have the best possible start as they transition to school.”

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The additional 2300 preschool places will be prioritised in areas of high demand and will bring the total number of new preschool places committed by the NSW Liberals & Nationals since 2011 to more than 8500. Deputy Premier John Barilaro said young families in regional communities will significantly benefit from today’s announcement.

“Only the Liberals & Nationals in Government can deliver the infrastructure and investment that our regional communities need and deserve,” Mr Barilaro said. Today’s announcement comes after NSW last year became the first jurisdiction in Australia to subsidise preschool education for three-year-olds, saving families more than $1600 over two years of preschool.

Minister for Early Childhood Education Sarah Mitchell said the announcement was another example of why only the Liberals & Nationals can be trusted to deliver high quality, accessible and affordable opportunities for the State’s youngest students.

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“Labor’s chronic underinvestment in early childhood education meant when they were in Government, only 56 per cent of four-year-olds were enrolled in a preschool program,” Ms Mitchell said. “Since the Liberals & Nationals were elected, this figure has soared to more than 83 per cent,” Ms Mitchell said.

Ms Mitchell also said that since the NSW Government introduced its Start Strong program in 2016, average daily fees in community preschools have decreased by 25 per cent and participation rates have increased by 40 per cent.

“In the 2018-19 Budget alone, the NSW Government invested $474 million in Early Childhood Education, more than double the budget when Labor was last in office,” Ms Mitchell said.

The Liberals & Nationals have made significant progress in the early childhood sector in NSW, with key achievements including:
· Almost $200 million to extend Start Strong subsidies to all three year olds in community preschools;
· $62 million for capital works funding to accommodate for increasing enrolments;
· $30 million in funding to enhance participation and education outcomes for children with disability and additional learning needs;
· $16 million to better prepare children for preschool and promote the importance of early childhood education to parents across the State;
· $6 million to ensure that our NSW early childhood educators are equipped to teach our children in our rapidly changing world;
· $5 million to intensively engage services to help lift their performance and quality rating;
· More than $5 million to support preschools in drought-affected areas; and
· More than $4.5 million to support the early childhood workforce through scholarship programs.