The Parenthood welcomes the official start of the NSW Government’s historic early learning reform package aimed at making early childhood education and care more accessible in the state.
The NSW Childcare and Economic Opportunity Fund Act 2022 will drive up to $5 billion of investment in the sector over 10 years to support NSW families with access to early learning.
“The NSW Government’s early learning reform package is historic, welcome and marks an important step towards Australia offering universal access to quality early childhood education and care,” said Georgie Dent, the Executive Director of The Parenthood.
“Ensuring that every child in NSW has access to quality, affordable early learning is an economic, educational and social imperative.”
“It sets children up for lifelong success, will deliver financial relief for families while also easing workforce shortages and increasing productivity.”
It is expected that the NSW investment in early childhood education, delivered alongside the announced Commonwealth’s childcare reforms, will support up to 95,000 women in NSW to re-enter the workforce or take on additional hours.
“Lifting women’s workforce participation is critical to boosting productivity and reducing gender inequity and we know that right now access to affordable quality early learning and care is the single biggest barrier mums face when making decisions about returning to work.”
“That has been acknowledged by the NSW Treasurer, education minister and premier in delivering this critical reform package,” Dent said.
Ensuring there is an early education workforce able to accommodate additional days is the next challenge.
“Quality early education and care starts - and ends - with educators and right now they’re leaving in record numbers.”
“Early educators are leaving because they can’t afford to stay and we can’t afford that. This workforce contracting is a problem for every employer and organisation in the country because if parents can't access suitable care, they can't access work.”
Earlier this month educators, unions, employers and peak bodies issued a joint statement about the workforce crisis.
“We need to act now to stem the loss of early educators and do everything we can to attract Australians back into this profession,” said Dent.