The Berejiklian-Barilaro Government’s budget announcement that all three-year-olds in NSW would get free preschool is a con, with eight out of ten preschool programs ineligible for funding.
Yesterday, the Premier, Treasurer, and Early Childhood Education Minister claimed that all NSW families would save $800 per year as a result of their preschool announcement:
Premier Gladys Berejiklian: “this announcement alone will save parents or carers with children in early
childhood education about $800 per year.” (Hansard – Legislative Assembly 19/6/2018)
Treasurer Dominic Perrottet: “from 2019, in an Australian first, every three-year-old in New South Wales will now have access to subsidised early learning… saving families on average $825 a year.”
(Hansard – Legislative Assembly 19/6/2018)
Early Childhood Education Minister Sarah Mitchell: “We are now the first state in Australia to provide
universal access to preschool for all three-year-olds.” (Hansard – Legislative Council 19/6/2018)
But the reality is the State Government’s announcement does not benefit the overwhelming majority of NSW families with children enrolled in early learning services.
In fact, 83 per cent of families in NSW choose to send their children to Long Day Care services to receive preschooling: these services have been expressly excluded from the new funding.
When asked about her government’s misleading claim yesterday in Question Time, the Premier denied the truth and said “I am embarrassed for the Member for Port Stephens for asking the question. I am embarrassed that she has not got her facts right.”
This morning, the Australian Childcare Alliance publicly confirmed “the vast majority of NSW-based 3 year-old children will fail to see any benefits from the latest NSW Government proposal.”
Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education Kate Washington MP
“The Premier and her government have desperately tried to mislead the community. The fact is 83 per cent of three year-olds in pre-schooling across NSW are not eligible for this funding.
“Community preschools do incredible work, and I support them entirely. But a large number of families across NSW do not have access to community preschools, and in NSW most of our pre-schooling is delivered in a long day care setting.
“The government’s centrepiece cost of living measure is simply a con-job.
“In the end, they’re going to get found out. More than one hundred thousand families are going to expect this assistance come January 2019, and they’re not going to be eligible. It’s as simple as that.”
This item was distributed as a media release on Wednesday 20 June 2018.