Member for the Dubbo electorate Dugald Saunders believes the NSW Government’s Start Strong Free Preschool program is one of the best things to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Treasurer Dominic Perrottet and Education Minister Sarah Mitchell announced on Sunday that tomorrow’s NSW Budget will include $150 million for the program, which will see families save up to $4000 per year per child in preschool fees.
“One of the first things the government did when COVID hit was assign funding into early education so staff could stay employed and spots were retained for children when families were forced to stay at home,” Mr Saunders said.
“Late last year we announced the COVID relief program would continue this year, and because it has been such a win for families, it is now a continuous cost-of-living measure rather than a pandemic response.
“We don’t want families having to choose between sending kids to preschool or using that money on other household essentials. Given how important the first 2000 days of a child’s life are, ensuring there is access to free preschool is a great step forward.”
Earlier this year Mr Saunders and Ms Mitchell visited Dubbo and District Preschool, where they spoke with staff and parents about how beneficial the program had been.
“This is great for families but it’s great for preschools as well, because there is certainty around the sector and the wonderful educators and staff benefit from that as well,” Mr Saunders said.
“When I visited Dubbo and District Preschool with the Minister the feedback from the staff and parents was terrific, and it has helped frame this program as something the government needed to implement on an ongoing basis.”
The Start Strong Free Preschool program will commence from January 2022, with up to 740 community and mobile preschools will benefit from this important investment.
Department of Education preschools will also be supported to continue offering free preschool.