My focus so far this year has been on reducing the equity gap that exists between metropolitan schools and schools in regional and remote areas. As someone who was proudly educated in the regions, it has been a pleasure to see the delivery of our Regional Access Gap Program. I visited the Murray electorate in May, where I spent time at Leeton Public School and met with students and teachers benefiting from our record $365.8 million investment. This investment is providing our regional and remote schools with better access to devices, course content, curriculum offerings, personal development, tertiary opportunities, and career prospects. It’s using technology as a game changer for the bush and it’s so exciting to see how our teachers and students are benefitting.
One thing always raised with me no matter where I am in regional NSW is access to quality and affordable childcare. As a mum I have experienced those challenges myself and understand the anxiety it causes for parents. The NSW government has taken a historic step in addressing this, making early childhood education more accessible and affordable for every young family in NSW. Improving access to childcare will support our young families. I want every child and family to have access to high quality childcare no matter their postcode. To do this the NSW Government is investing in early childhood infrastructure, workforce supply, affordability and accessibility.
The NSW 2022/23 Budget will commit $5 billion to the Affordable and Accessible Child Care and Economic Participation Fund to assist with improving the quality of services and creating more places, a $281.6 Workforce package to address build a sustainable pipeline of early childhood educators, $1.4 billion for a new Affordable Preschool Program, continuing fee relief for children in our community and mobile preschools and also extending this program to children attending preschool in a long day-care setting. $376.5million has also been invested in the Brighter Beginnings initiative to make NSW the leading state in providing the best developmental support. I believe that investing in early childhood is one of the most important things we can do to give children the best start in life, helping young children develop their social skills and open up lifelong opportunities. That is why we are investing a record $15.9 billion over ten years to ensure that our youngest learners get the best start to life. This funding and support will particularly benefit kids in the bush, setting them up for every success in the future.
We have a lot more to come this year, and I am looking forward to continuing to work hard to ensure our education system is one of the best in the world.