Under a Foley Labor Government, every child in NSW will have access to at least 15 hours of affordable preschool education per week in the year before school.

Labor’s major commitment to improve access to quality education for children in the year before kindergarten was announced today by Leader Luke Foley during his address to state conference.

Families in NSW are forced to pay the lion’s share of preschool education costs while the State Government contributes a fraction.

As many as four out of 10 children in the state fail to attend the recommended 15 hours a week needed to prepare them in the year before starting primary school.

NSW is lagging behind every other state and territory on a number of key measures when it comes to preschool:

  • NSW has the lowest number of children attending pre-school for the recommended 15 hours a week – just 59 per cent, well below the national benchmark of 95 per cent;
  • NSW families pay the most for pre-school in Australia – a median of $43 for two days after subsidies, making it harder for lower-income families to access programs. By comparison, in Queensland it is $23;
  • andAt $202 per child NSW also invests less on early education than any other state or territory. In Victoria it is $347 while South Australia invests $644 per child.

Between now and the 2019 election Labor will consult with the preschool education sector – teachers, parents, preschool operators and academics.

Quotes attributable to Opposition Leader Luke Foley

“Every child deserves the best start in life and those first steps in education are crucial.

“Too many children in the state don’t have access to affordable preschool for the international benchmark of 15 hours a week.

“New South Wales invests the lowest amount per child in preschool education of any state or territory government in Australia. This means parents pay the most.

“Labor will take the most comprehensive early education policy in the history of our state to the next election.”

Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education Kate Washington

“Preschool is the most effective way of ensuring that all children are ready for school and ready to learn.

“NSW Labor is dedicated to preschool education because a sound start is the best predictor of a bright future.

“This announcement builds on Labor’s commitment to ensure every public school built must include a childcare or after school care facility to help working families.”