NSW Labor is urging the Government to make preschool free for a further 18 months to boost workforce participation and kickstart the State’s economic recovery.
NSW Labor Leader Jodi McKay said free preschool should be included as one of the Government’s key stimulus measures in the upcoming State budget: “Families are struggling. Access to free preschool will ease the pressure on household budgets so kids can stay in vital early learning regardless of their parents’ financial position.
“If the Government backs this initiative they’ll have bipartisan support. Economic recovery and jobs are the most important issues facing NSW,” Ms McKay said.
The Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Learning Jodie Harrison said it’s vital the Government ensures no children fall behind as NSW endures one of the worst economic downturns since the Great depression.
“In the long-term, there’s nothing more important than giving every child in NSW access to quality education. That starts before school. In this recession, with lots of families doing it tough financially, we want to make sure no children miss out.”
The benefits of early childhood education are significant and widespread:
- There are 5,500 early childhood education services in NSW including more than 750 pre-school services, and of the 400,000 children in services. 45,000 are in pre-school (more than 10%)
- Early childhood education provides a 1:2 Return on Investment (According to analysis undertaken by PwC for the Front Project ) - $2 of benefits flow to the economy for every $1 spent on early childhood education
- Closing the workforce participation gap could boost GDP by $60 billion over 20 years