NSW Budget 2018 features historic firsts for education, including record funding to expand the number of new and upgraded schools, unprecedented investment to air condition more classrooms and universal pre-school for three year olds.
Treasurer Dominic Perrottet, Education Minister Rob Stokes and Early Childhood Minister Sarah Mitchell outlined a range of new initiatives funded by the $17.3 billion education budget in 2018-19.
The Government will be investing $6 billion over the next four years to deliver more than 170 new and upgraded schools, including planning for more than 20 new projects.
“We are proud to be making this unprecedented investment into the future of our children,” Mr Perrottet said.
“This year’s NSW Budget takes our already record school building program to another level – a massive 170 schools new and upgraded schools over the next four years.
“That brings our total schools building program to 230 new and upgraded schools since 2011."
“The NSW Liberals & Nationals Government’s strong financial management has allowed us to invest so heavily in our schools and education system.”
Mr Stokes said communities right across NSW will benefit from this record investment into education.
“NSW is experiencing an increase in school enrolments and we have in place an unprecedented program of investment in new and upgraded schools to meet this demand,” Mr Stokes said.
A staged investment of $500 million is being allocated to provide cooling for schools, while improving the indoor environmental quality, through the installation of smart and sustainable air conditioning systems powered by solar energy.
In another landmark initiative, NSW will become the first Australian state to provide universal access to community preschool for three years old under a $197.8 million program.
“Because of this historic investment, average daily fees will decrease significantly and the savings will go directly back into the pockets of hard working families,” Mrs Mitchell said.
This brings total spending on early childhood education to $474.3 million in 2018-19.
Other education investment in the 2018-19 NSW Budget includes:
- $160 million to be spent in 2018-19 to continue its blitz on planned school maintenance, part of a record $747 million investment over four years;
- $71.8 million to implement the Literacy and Numeracy Strategy in NSW schools;
- $50 million in additional flexible funding will be provided to government schools to implement the School Leadership Strategy - freeing up principals and school leaders from administrative work;
- $3 million for the first comprehensive review of the entire school curriculum since 1989;
- $2.8 million to encourage the preservation and study of Aboriginal languages;
- $30 million to continue to deliver greater access to green space and sports facilities in public school playgrounds through the Share Our Space program, and;
- Funding for around 900 extra full-time equivalent teaching positions in NSW government schools.
The NSW Government will also invest $1.3 billion on non-government schools, an increase of 7.5 per cent on 2017-18. This includes a $32 million increase in the Building Grants Assistance Scheme over four years for capital works projects to support enrolment growth in non-government schools.
The record $17.3 billion investment in education allocates $15.7 billion for recurrent expenses and $1.6 billion for capital investment in 2018-19.