LETTER TO THE EDITOR: We’ve delivered cheaper preschool, says Minister

PROMISE DELIVERED: NSW Minister for Early Childhood Education Sarah Mitchell says the State Government has reduced the cost of early education.
PROMISE DELIVERED: NSW Minister for Early Childhood Education Sarah Mitchell says the State Government has reduced the cost of early education.

EVERY day, families right across NSW are playing the juggling act of managing their cost of living and a long list of competing priorities.

The NSW Government knows how important education is to children to ensure they get the best start in life – that is why we made it a commitment to make early childhood education more affordable for families.

I am proud that just over a year since we made the commitment we have delivered it.

This is huge news for families, with preschool fees dropping for the first time ever in NSW after years of neglect from former Labor governments.

Preliminary results from the 2017 Preschool Census, which surveyed more than 730 community preschools in NSW, shows fees have already dropped by an average of 25 per cent thanks to the Start Strong Reforms.

Making quality early childhood education more affordable for all families is a goal of the NSW Government’s Start Strong program and the results from the census prove the program is a real success.

The Start Strong reforms were introduced last year to ensure more children had access to 600 hours of quality early childhood education in the year before school.

Under Start Strong, community preschools must use at least 75 per cent of the funding increase to reduce fees for eligible children, with priority given to children from Aboriginal and low-income families.

The social, cognitive and educational benefits gained from quality early childhood education are immeasurable and this investment is absolutely crucial in ensuring children in NSW have the best start to their school lives.

This builds on the NSW Government’s historic investment of more than $330 million to ensure more children have access to 600 hours of quality, affordable early childhood education until 2020.

Investing in the future of our children is a no-brainer in my books, because our kids deserve it and our families expect it.

Sarah Mitchell, Minister for Early Childhood Education