$1.4 billion for NSW preschool fee relief

·2-min read

Parents of preschoolers will save thousands in childcare fees as part of a $1.4 billion package to be included in next week's NSW budget.

Premier Dominic Perrottet has already flagged that a major focus of Tuesday's budget will be about removing barriers for women that stop them fully participating in the workforce.

The latest family-friendly budget reveal outlined a plan to invest $1.4 billion over four years to subsidise fees for parents using public and private preschools.

"Preschool is where the building blocks for lifelong success are established, so it is vital that quality early childhood education is more accessible for families in NSW, no matter what their circumstances or where they live," the premier said on Wednesday.

From next year, all NSW families will be eligible for up to $4000 a year in fee relief for three, four and five-year-olds attending a community or mobile preschool.

For the first time, parents with children in long private daycare will be included in state childcare subsidies, with up to $2000 a year available in fee relief for four and five-year-olds.

The equivalent of five days a fortnight of affordable preschool fee relief will be available for all children in Department of Education preschools.

A two-year pilot program will invest $64.1 million to support more three-year-olds attending preschool in long day care.

The announcement comes a day after the government committed $5 billion over the next decade expanding access to affordable child care.

The fund will be used to entice private childcare providers to create 47,000 places a year in 'childcare deserts' in suburban, regional and rural NSW, with providers having to tender for funding.

NSW/ACT Independent Education Union Secretary Mark Northam welcomed the plan but said preschools and long day care centres were already struggling to find staff.

"Unless the fundamental problem of low salaries for early childhood education staff is addressed, the persistent problems of shortages in the sector will continue," he said.

The premier also announced a four-year $376.5m 'brighter beginnings' budget commitment to, among other initiatives, help ensure children get their free developmental checks before starting school.

Currently almost half of four-year-old children do not get all their recommended checks, which are designed to ensure better behavioural and academic outcomes at school.

"The first 2000 days of a child's life are critical to their development and success and we want to ensure they get the best start possible," Mr Perrottet said.

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