Record early childhood investment to expand access

The Minister announces record funding in early childhood education and care as part of the 2024-25 Budget.

A row of backpacks hanging on hooks with the Government waratah logo superimposed over the image. A row of backpacks hanging on hooks with the Government waratah logo superimposed over the image.

Families across NSW are set to benefit from increased access to early childhood services, as the Minns Labor Government makes a record $1.82 billion investment in early childhood education and care as part of the 2024-25 Budget.

As part of this investment, $1.71 billion in recurrent funding will be allocated to early childhood education and care. Some $105 million in capital funding will also be allocated to the Minns Labor Government’s $769 million investment in 100 new public preschools.

This historic investment will more than double the number of public preschools in NSW by 2027 and see more than 9,000 additional children benefit from access to high-quality early childhood education ahead of school.

Our record investment comes after the Liberals and Nationals failed to properly plan for growing demand in the early childhood sector, instead making hollow promises on the eve of the last state election, after more than a decade of neglect.

New data has shown the number of preschools in NSW decreased over the decade the Liberals and Nationals were in power, despite increasing demand from young families across the state.

In 2013 there were 808 preschools in NSW, a number which fell over the next 10 years to 762, according to data from the Department of Education.

This means after a decade of Coalition Government, the number of preschools available to NSW families declined by six per cent, despite demand continuing to surge.

Our 2024-25 Budget outlines a comprehensive plan to build a better NSW.

We have a plan to address the Liberals and Nationals' policy failures in the early childhood education and care sector by making the largest expansion of the public preschool sector in the state’s history.

Public preschool places will surge in coming years as the Minns Labor Government opens 100 new public preschools, allowing more than 9,000 children to access public preschool in the year before school.

We know people across the state are doing it tough right now and it has become increasingly difficult to make ends meet.

  • That is why the 2024-25 Budget includes $430 million in fee relief for families with preschool-aged children over the next year.
  • The Minns Labor Government has also committed $60 million to building new preschools and upgrading preschools at non-government schools.
  • We have also invested $20 million into a two-year Flexible Initiatives Trial, to address the barriers to workforce participation, promoting more flexible hours in early learning services.
  • $20 million will be invested in capital grants to increase the number of places at not-for-profit early childhood education and care services in areas of greatest need.
  • Over $17 million has been invested into our Early Childhood Education and Care Scholarships program and professional learning, in addition to a previous investment of $12.1 million. This program has seen more than 2,000 scholarships awarded in the past year, surpassing previous records.
  • We will also enter into a $10 million partnership with TAFE NSW to support early childhood educators and teachers with access to professional learning.
  • We are investing $5.3 million into our Business Capability Development Program, helping small, early childhood education providers to reduce administration time and increase business sustainability.

This is part of our long-term plan to rebuild education in NSW, ensuring every family can access high-quality education from the early years.

The Minns Labor Government is delivering a plan to build a stronger, more accessible public education system. This Budget builds on the work we have already done to address over a decade of neglect under the Liberals and Nationals, to ensure that students across NSW can attend a high-quality public school close to home and that all families can access the early childhood support they need.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Education and Early Learning Prue Car said:

“This investment in the early childhood sector is the largest made by any NSW government and demonstrates our commitment to giving children around the state the best educational start in life.

“Improving equity in access to early education and care across NSW is vital for young families, and ensures our youngest learners are given every opportunity to thrive.”

  • Ministerial media releases
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