Early childhood Minister admits government underspent budget by $310 million

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The Baird Government has today admitted to underspending the Early Childhood Education budget every year for the past 3 years – an effective cut of $310 million.

Minister for Early Childhood Education Leslie Williams was forced to admit that between 2012 and 2015, the actual rate of increase in funding was less than half the rate claimed by the Government. 

In response to a question in NSW Parliament today, the Minister admitted the rate of increase had averaged 14.5 per cent, rather than the 30-50 per cent spruiked by the Baird Government.

The Minister also refused to commit to invest all of this year’s budgeted funds into early childhood education.

The Baird Government has also today been exposed for inflating the budget by including money for Outside of School Hours (OOSH) care in the early childhood education budget, despite this service being predominately used by primary school aged students.

Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education Jodie Harrison:

“Despite enormous pressure for more childcare and preschool places, the Baird Government has effectively cut $310 million from early childhood education over the past few years.”

“Early Childhood Education makes up only 2 per cent of the total education budget.”

“When the Government doesn’t even spend the money they’ve budgeted for preschools and daycare, the community is left short changed.”

“This Government cannot be trusted to deliver the promised funding increase in this budget.”

“The Liberals have proven to be very good at fudging the figures - what else are they hiding in this budget?”

“The Minister attempted to claim that underspending the budget by $100 million was a victory, because spending anything is better than nothing. That is not good enough.”