Frequently asked questions
How does this package support women’s economic participation?
We know that the barriers to accessing quality and affordable early childhood education and care mean that many women choose to work fewer days, or not at all.
This package was developed in the context of the Women’s Economic Opportunities Review and aligns with many of the key recommendations made by the Review panel. To support women to enter, or re-enter, and stay in the workforce and give them the confidence that their children will benefit from a quality education, this package will:
invest in the early childhood education and care workforce (which is 94% women)
provide immediate fee relief for families to make preschool more affordable
introduce a universal pre-Kindergarten year by the end of the decade that offers more no cost preschool days for all children in the year before school during the hours that working families need
invest in creating more childcare and preschool places and building the early childhood workforce of the future, through the Childcare and Economic Opportunity Fund.
Who have you consulted with in the development of this package?
We have had wide-ranging conversations with families, services and educators, and. From those conversations, it is clear that we need to take action to address affordability, availability and workforce shortages so that all families can access early childhood education and care and set a strong foundation for their children’s lifelong learning.
This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to change the future of children in NSW and we are committed to a significant consultation process to make sure we get it right. There will be widespread consultation opportunities throughout 2022 and 2023 and the NSW Department of Education will provide regular communications about these opportunities.
Do we need the Australian Government’s support to implement these reforms?
The way that the Australian Government’s Child Care Subsidy (CSS) system works is that state governments need agreement to provide additional fee relief to families.
We are confident the Australian Government will see the strong value in supporting access to affordable and quality preschool for NSW families.
What are you doing to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and services?
The NSW Government is committed to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children being supported in early childhood education to embrace their culture and identity. The Government is also committed to Closing the Gap Targets and working to ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children get the best possible start in life.
Investment in affordable preschool will make sure all children, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, have access to affordable and quality preschool.
Universal pre-Kindergarten will ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children get access to more days of low or no cost preschool to help improve transitions to school. We will design these new opportunities in partnership with Aboriginal communities. We will also commit to increasing the availability of preschool programs offered by Aboriginal community controlledcommunity-controlled organisations.
In consultation with communities, the NSW Government will provide increased support for existing Aboriginal Child and Family Centres and build more Centres across NSW. We will also provide health and development checks for children in preschool, which help give Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families the information and support they need to help their children thrive.
All of this builds on our Aboriginal Children’s Early Childhood Education Strategy – First Steps – which was launched in 2021 and in which we have already seen a range of achievements. These include the awarding of a record number of Aboriginal Early Childhood Education Scholarships, grants awarded through the Ninganah No More program to increase Aboriginal languages in early childhood education and NSW’s first ECEC Aboriginal Languages Hub, in addition to the continued success of the Aboriginal Families as Teachers program to encourage participation in early childhood education.
This work takes time, but we are on the right track to improve outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in NSW.
How will this support regional, rural and remote services and communities?
Through Brighter Beginnings, the NSW Government will expand successful child development programs across the state, to give more children and families access to the services they need, regardless of where they live. This includes Pregnancy Family Conferencing and Sustaining NSW Families.
We will provide increased support for existing Aboriginal Child and Family Centres’ facilities and build more Centres across NSW, which will provide a mix of key culturally safe services and supports to more families living in regional and remote areas.
Investment in affordable preschool will also make sure all children, including children in regional, rural and remote services and communities, can access affordable and quality preschool and are given every opportunity for a bright future.
Over time, universal pre-Kindergarten will become available to every child in every corner of NSW.
In addition to this, developmental checks in early childhood education settings will be rolled out statewide.
What are you doing about before and after school care?
The NSW Government is building on the before and after school care (BASC) election commitment and the recent voucher scheme by investing $37.9 million over 4 years to support the viability of BASC services in regional and remote areas across NSW.
This funding is designed to provide innovative solutions to increase the viability of BASC services, particularly for NSW Government primary school children in small, regional and remote/or rural areas. The department will support the viability of these BASC services to ensure parents and carers have access to in circumstances where a service would not otherwise be viable, due to relatively low demand and regional and remote locations.
The funding also includes a grant scheme to improve transport access to BASC programs in regional and rural schools, as well as funding the continuation of the department's BASC team who assists with providing licenses and communications.
How does this package support children with disability and their families?
Children who participate in a quality early childhood education program for at least 600 hours in the year before school are more likely to arrive at school equipped with the social, cognitive and emotional skills they need to engage in learning.
Brighter Beginnings aims to support children with disability and additional needs. This includes the rollout of health and development checks for children in preschool that will be delivered across metro and regional NSW, to support more children to start school developmentally on track.
Investment in affordable preschool will also make sure all children — including those with disability — have access to affordable, quality preschool and are given every opportunity for a bright future.
These initiatives are in addition to the Department of Education’s current disability, learning and support programs.
To provide feedback or ask us a question about the Early Years Commitment please contact:
Early Years Commitment team