Parents in NSW will not have to pay preschool fees for up to six months thanks to a $51 million funding package announced by the NSW Government.
The NSW Government has also committed up to $82 million to support 260 council childcare centres who are not eligible for the JobKeeper payments.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said preschools and early childhood educators are vital to the community, and it is important parents continue to have access to childcare during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Parents are under a lot of pressure at the moment and it’s crucial for them to continue to have access to childcare, particularly those working on the frontline during this crisis,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“This will also provide funding certainty during an unpredictable time, ensuring preschool teachers and educators can be confident they will remain employed.
“This will provide financial relief to families during the pandemic and ensure childcare centres remain viable into the future.”
The funding will be available to 700 state-funded community preschools and 38 mobile services that provide care to 45,000 three to five year olds.
Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the recently announced Working for NSW Fund would contribute towards the state’s community preschools.
“This fund was set up to keep people in jobs and by supporting the sector, we’re ensuring the future of these early childhood services beyond this health crisis.
“It will also ease cost-of-living pressures on families in these tough times.”
Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning Sarah Mitchell said the funding means community preschools and council childcare centres would be required to remain open, unless they are closed on health advice.
“Preschools and council childcare centres will now have the peace of mind that they will be financially viable, and parents will benefit from the relief of not having to pay any fees,” Ms Mitchell said.
“Families and children can now also be assured that their preschool service will continue to operate, providing some familiarity for them during these trying times.”
Today’s funding is on top of the NSW Government’s commitment to maintain Start Strong funding for preschools based on service enrolments before COVID-19.