We know the difference that quality early childhood education makes to our childrens’ start at school. Over the past two weeks I have announced an additional $83.5 million in funding to support community preschools across the state. As a Nationals’ Minister, I know that regional preschools must be as good as their city counterparts and they need support to achieve this.
To support the provision of early childhood education in regional communities we are investing $12 million in additional funding from next year to community preschools in rural and remote areas where access to preschool services may be limited.
I have announced $14 million in grant funding for preschools in inner regional, regional and remote areas. The first to benefit from this funding will be 223 preschools in inner regional NSW with $7,000 grants which can be used for a range of things such as providing transport or breakfast programs. This funding builds on our previous initiative which provided grants to regional and remote preschools.
A further $13 million will be invested through the Preschool Funding Model which will provide all preschools with a 2.5 per cent increase in their base funding rate per child. This will assist services with the cost of providing a quality early childhood education program and should help to keep fees stable for parents.
An $8 million Rural and Remote Capital Works Grants Program will help community preschools and mobile preschool services to expand. We are also providing $11 million in bonus payments to preschools who enrol four and five-year-old children for 15 hours per week. Bonus payments of up to 15 per cent are available to your preschool.
These are just some of the programs that will be funded in 2016. I will continue to work hard for regional NSW to ensure that parents are able to access an early childhood education program that best meets their needs.