Today NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet will hand down the second NSW Budget since COVID-19 forced us to adopt a new normal.
One of the first things we did in response to COVID-19 was to make preschool free, removing a layer of financial pressure for many families. The program supported countless jobs, and kept children learning and engaged through a very tumultuous time.
Well, now it’s here to stay, saving families up to $4,000 per year per child in preschool fees, easing cost of living pressures and helping families achieve the work-life balance.
The Start Strong Free Preschool program will commence from January 2022, replacing the current COVID-19 free preschool program, which will conclude at the end of this year, meaning that there will be continuous cost-of-living support for parents and carers.
Up to 740 community and mobile preschools across NSW will benefit.
Importantly, our most precious gift and future – our children – will continue to receive the early childhood education they need and deserve. It’s an important part of development and preparation, especially in those critical two years before school.
Thank you to all the preschool directors, staff and committees across the Dubbo electorate for your ongoing dedication to our littlest learners.
I was very excited to have the Treasurer, Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Attorney-General Mark Speakman in the electorate to formally announce the NSW Drug Court will be extended to Dubbo, with $27.9 million to be included in today’s budget!
This builds on our $7.5 million commitment to build and operate a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility in the region.
The Drug Court is proven to be more efficient at driving down crime and the intensive rehabilitation that it provides costs less than sending offenders to prison. Work continues behind the scenes with the rehab facility, and now that we have funding for a drug court we will be able to take a holistic approach to dealing with people who suffer from a drug addiction!
From January next year, the Regional Seniors Travel Card will be expanded to include seniors who have reached pension age and are receiving a disability or carer’s pension!
We know how much seniors value this card- it can mean the difference between an extra few trips to visit grandkids, the ease of seeing friends locally or just getting to the shops or attending medical appointments.
Until next week, Dugald.