Parents across NSW will soon have more accessible and affordable quality childcare with legislation for the up to $5 billion Childcare and Economic Opportunity Fund to be introduced to Parliament this week
The Fund brings the NSW Government a step closer to delivering on its $15.9 billion commitment announced in the 2022-23 NSW Budget to transform the lives of families across the state.
Legislating the Fund guarantees NSW families can enjoy the benefits of this important initiative for decades to come, and gives long-term certainty to the childcare sector, with the government’s early childhood education reforms estimated to boost affordable childcare supply by up to 47,000 places when combined with changes to the Commonwealth Childcare Subsidy.
The NSW Childcare and Economic Opportunity Fund Bill 2022 will help give more people in our state the opportunity to choose both a career and a family by easing cost of living pressures.
These nation-leading reforms are also estimated to close the gender workforce participation gap by up to 14 per cent and increase household incomes by up to $4,400 on average within a decade.
The Fund, delivered alongside the Commonwealth’s childcare reforms, is expected to allow up to 95,000 women to enter the workforce or take on more hours.
Nationals Minister for Women Bronnie Taylor said the Fund adds to other measures announced in the Budget to improve women’s economic opportunity, boost their workplace participation, and tackle the gender pay gap.
“This Fund will help break the childcare drought by targeting areas with limited access and trialling new service models to meet the needs of modern families,” Mrs Taylor said.
Nationals Minister for Education and Early Learning Sarah Mitchell said the Fund will provide opportunities for the early childhood sector to grow, be innovative to the needs of families, and support children with the highest quality education and care.
“Enshrining this in law will guarantee investment in the sector and improve quality in both infrastructure and the workforce. We’ll continue to work with providers on the Fund’s rollout to best support the formative years of children’s lives,” Ms Mitchell said.
Over the next decade the NSW Government is spending $15.9 billion on childcare and early education, including:
• Up to $5 billion over 10 years to establish the Childcare and Economic Opportunity Fund.
• $5.8 billion over 10 years to introduce a high-quality universal pre-Kindergarten year for all children in NSW in the year before school by 2030.
• $1.4 billion over four years to provide affordable preschool.
• $64.1 million to increase participation of 3 year olds in preschool in long day care settings.
• $281.6 million over four years to increase the number, quality and retention of early childhood educators and teachers – the package includes early childhood teacher higher education scholarships of up to $25,000, Vocational Education and Training scholarships of up to $2,000 and employer supplements for staff retention.
• $111.2 million over four years for developmental checks in preschools in both metro and rural areas as part of the Brighter Beginnings initiative.
• $24.7 million over four years to build system stewardship capability and offer more tailored support and guidance to early childhood education and care service providers.
• $37.9 million over three years to improve access to before and after-school care services.