A decade ago, every Australian Government agreed that all children should have access to preschool in the year before school. Every State received funding from the Feds to achieve that, and every State except one has met the nationally agreed goal of 95% of children being enrolled in preschool. Every state except NSW!
Right now only 85 per cent of kids in NSW are benefiting from preschool. NSW continues to lag behind the rest of the country leaving thousands of four-year-olds missing out on a critical year of early learning before they start school.
This is due, in part, to the massive inequity in the way the NSW Government funds preschool. Parents are being left to foot the bill and kids are missing out.
On a per child basis, the NSW Government invests less than any other State – just $2122 per preschool child. This is less than half what Victoria spends on its children, and less than a third of what WA, SA and Tasmania spend.
This is because the NSW is shortchanging parents whose children attend preschool programs in long day care centres – and that is 68% of all children attending preschool in NSW.
The NSW Government allocates just 11% of its $268 million preschool budget to support these children, with 89% of funding allocated to support the 32% of children in community preschools.
We don’t begrudge the funding of community preschools – recent increases in their funding ended years of underfunding of community preschools.
We're calling on Premier Berejiklian to be preschool fair and fund early learning for ALL four-year-olds EQUALLY no matter their centre or service.
Funding for community preschools is great - but why should the vast majority of children attending preschool through a long day care centre get so much less?
It's time that kids in NSW were treated fairly.