Chris Minns might be back at work following his extended Christmas break, but he had nothing new to offer families needing cost of living support.
The Premier has spruiked a $500 childcare relief payment that is only available for 3-year-olds who attend long daycare services – a measure that was announced by Labor in its budget last year. This follows the Minns Labor Government slashing Active Kids, Creative Kids and Back to School vouchers which have made a real difference to household budgets.
Shadow Minister for Education and Early Learning Sarah Mitchell said it was clear Mr Minns and his Ministers spent no time over the holidays working on new initiatives to help families.
“What we saw from Chris Minns was nothing more than political spin. It was merely a re-announcement of a Budget initiative that unfortunately the majority of families with children attending childcare will not be able to access,” Ms Mitchell said.
“In addition, Chris Minns also tried to take credit for the continuation of up to $4,000 per year in preschool fee relief for families – an initiative introduced and funded by the former Nationals Government.”
Ms Mitchell said the fact is that The Nationals had a bold and ambitious agenda to transform early childhood education in NSW.
“Our $15.9 billion Early Years program would have delivered more affordable and accessible childcare, better support for the early childhood sector through staff retention payments and scholarships, and the ground-breaking initiative of a full year of free preschool for every child in NSW.
“So far under Labor, all we have seen is a string of broken promises. The government claimed it would deliver 100 preschools in its first term – yet only 10 sites have been announced and none are due to open any time soon.
“It promised to deliver initiatives for more childcare services through the $5 billion Childcare Fund set up by The Nationals, yet there are still millions of dollars sitting in the fund. It begs the question; why aren’t these funds being allocated?”
Ms Mitchell said Labor promised to support the early childhood workforce, but has done nothing to help improve pay for early childhood staff and it is not delivering enough support for educators when it comes to scholarships.
“The fact is families and the early childhood sector are worse off under Labor and next time I would suggest Chris Minns have something of substance to announce when he visits an early childhood service, because parents and children deserve better.