NSW splurges $15.9b on early education

·2-min read

The NSW government says its $15.9 billion worth of budget commitments to early education represent a "once in a generation" investment in children across the state.

The government handed down its 2022/23 budget on Tuesday, announcing the massive spending on initiatives for early childhood education and child development over the next decade.

The centrepiece of the budget's education initiatives was the multi-billion dollar investment in early eduction, including $1.4 billion over four years to provide affordable preschool across the state.

Other measures for early learners were $281.6 million over the forward estimates to boost the number, quality and retention of early childhood educators and teachers, and $112.2 million for developmental checks in preschools.

There was also $37.9 million to boost before- and after-school care and $24.7 million to support and guide early childhood education and care service providers.

Treasurer Matt Kean said the government understood that a "great education can propel a person up the ladder of opportunity".

"We know that the first five years of a child's life can set them up for success at school and beyond. Ninety per cent of a child's brain development occurs in these years," Mr Kean said in his budget speech on Tuesday.

"The reality is that our children's lives - and the NSW our children build - will be brighter because of the once-in-a-generation investment we decide to make today."

The government said longer-term budget commitments in the area included up to $5 billion to set up a fund for accessible and affordable childcare, $5.8 billion to establish a universal pre-kindergarten year as well as $53.4 million to plan the scheme.

Minister for Education and Early Learning Sarah Mitchell said the measures showed NSW was leading the country in early education.

"Investing in early childhood is one of the most important things we can do to give children the best start, a smoother transition to school and open up a lifetime of opportunities," Ms Mitchell said in a statement.

Other commitments in education were more money for skills, training and school upgrades, bolstered funding for evidence-based initiatives in schools and $478.2 million to modernise nine public schools in southwest Sydney.

The government has already announced continuing fee-free training for those in in-demand industries costing $82.7 million over four years.

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