The NSW Government continues to underfund early childhood services as compared to other states and territories. The Auditor General in a recently released report found:
“That fees for families in NSW are higher and the NSW Government’s contribution per child is lower than in most other states and territories”.
The Auditor General’s Report also found that while access to early childhood programs has been increasing, the Government has continued to underspend the early childhood budget allocation.
The 2014-2015 fiscal year resulted in a $98.2 million underspend ($361.1 million was budgeted for and $262.9 million was spent). The report states that from 2011 to 2015 the NSW Government has underspent by $350.4 million.
This is certainly not new for our early childhood members who have been calling on government to increase funding particularly for preschool for a number of years.
Our members continue to meet with the Minister for Early Childhood, Leslie Williams and their local members to tell their stories of the underfunding of preschools and the effect it has on the community.
Until the NSW Government accepts that they must put more money into early childhood education, preschools in NSW will continue to have the highest fees and a lower participation rate than other states. Instead of building roads and tunnels, Mr Baird should invest in early childhood education – where for every dollar invested, there is substantial return.