Families in NSW will save thousands of dollars a year on childcare costs thanks to the NSW Government’s landmark investment of up to $5 billion over the next decade to expand access to high quality, affordable care.
Under the reforms, a middle-income Sydney family with one child in full-time childcare that benefits from the investment is expected to save up to $3,900 a year, while the equivalent family living in regional NSW with two children in childcare is expected to save up to $7,800.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said it can be hard for families to access affordable childcare, especially in Sydney, and this funding would transform the lives of families across the state.
“We know that childcare places are scarce in some postcodes, making it difficult for parents to return to paid work when they want. Improving accessibility to childcare by investing in supply will provide practical assistance to families with young ones,” Mr Perrottet said.
“My Government is focused on building a brighter future for our state by helping people pursue their hopes and aspirations. That is what this transformational policy will do.”
NSW Treasurer Matt Kean said investment in childcare is the best way to improve women’s economic opportunity, increase female workforce participation and close the gender pay gap.
“Childcare costs impede the dreams of women across NSW because many women are only able to keep about 30 cents in each dollar they earn when they return to work,” Mr Kean said.
“Childcare shouldn’t be a postcode lottery. Improving the affordability and accessibility of childcare is once in a generation economic policy. This investment, delivered alongside the Commonwealth’s childcare reforms, is expected to see up to 95,000 women enter the workforce or take on more hours, driving down the gender workforce participation gap by up to 14 per cent within a decade.”
Minister for Women Bronnie Taylor said this investment is expected to boost childcare supply, with a focus on increasing the supply of affordable childcare right across NSW.
“This once in a generation scheme will mean women no longer need to choose between work or caring for their children,” Mrs Taylor said.
“This package will help break the childcare drought by targeting areas with the least access to affordable childcare, which poses the highest disincentive to parents returning to work.”
Minister for Education and Early Learning Sarah Mitchell said early childhood education and care providers will be able to apply for funding to help deliver more accessible and affordable care.
“This is one of the most important things we can do to give children the best start in life, helping young children develop their social skills and open up lifelong opportunities from their earliest years,” Ms Mitchell said.
“We will work with the sector on the detailed design of the fund to ensure it delivers the best outcomes for children, families and providers.”
The NSW Government’s investment will be made through the Affordable and Accessible Childcare and Economic Participation Fund, which will be established in this year’s budget. The Fund will:
· Provide grants to childcare providers to expand infrastructure and establish new centres,
· Target areas with limited access to childcare centres or where a shortage of childcare places poses the highest disincentive to parents returning to work,
· Complement the Commonwealth’s demand-side childcare policy framework through flexible supply side funding,
· Invest $775 million over the next four years, and
· Trial new service models to meet the needs of modern families.