Labor Promises Big Funding for Early Education

By Mitchell Hiscock and Andrew Worldon

Key Points:

  • Labor plans $500m project for early education
  • Focuses on Pre-Schools and Daycare Centres
  • Labor’s proposal to take large percentage of funding from the Liberal’s Stadium Project
Early Childcare Centres such as Carenne School in Bathurst will see the benefits of Labor’s project.

With the NSW State Election only a couple of weeks away, the Labor Government has released a historic plan to put more focus on early childhood education.

This announcement from Labor along with Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education, Kate
Washington
of a $500 million package for long day-care centres and preschools in NSW
was made late last month 

This plan aims to increase the support and access to
facilities and programs for young children in the education system, as under
the Liberal and Nationals Government, fewer than 20 per cent of three-year olds
receive state government funding.

The $500 million package will be split into numerous funds to
help improve early childhood education.

Opposition leader Michael Daley announced in February that Labor would be stripping $500 million from the Berejiklian government $2.2 billion project to refurbish stadiums around NSW.

Opposition Leader Michael Daley visited an early childcare centre to promote Labor’s project. Credit: @michaeldaleyMP

Labor wants
the young children of NSW to be given the best chance of succeeding in life. Mr
Daley explains: “The experts tell us that early childhood is one of the most
crucial periods for a child’s learning and development. Labor will ensure that
young kids in these vital years are given the best chance of success.”

The historic plan will make early education and pre-schooling
a priority in the education sector with a range of new investments, with one
being the doubling of the funding for three-year-olds in 2019-2020, resulting
in reduced fees and better support services.

The major fund will be a $292 million investment into a ‘Little Kids Big Futures’ fund, increasing participation and easier access into early childhood education. This will bring benefits across the education sector with a program to help children with learning disabilities, the funding of support communities and an investment in an easier pathway to education for three-year-olds with Playgroups NSW.

The plan will also involve an $18 million ‘Specialist Early Intervention’ trial program, providing young children with much-needed support for learning difficulties, disabilities and other health-related issues.

The Labor government will also introduce a new policy for air
conditioning in NSW schools with the funding taken from the $2.2 billion Sydney
stadium project.

The ‘Cool Schools’ policy guarantees that all new schools
built under the Labor government will have air conditioning powered by rooftop
solar panels, and it will all be inspected and regulated by School
Infrastructure NSW.

If Labor wins the election, 80% of the fund will be covered
by the federal government, leaving the state government with the rest.