50,000 kids to get early access to universal pre-kindergarten

8 March 2023

50,000 kids across the state will have access to free preschool sooner, with a re-elected NSW Liberal and Nationals Government to accelerate the rollout of its $5.8 billion universal pre-Kindergarten program.

The commitment will bring forward $1 billion to commence construction on the first of the new preschools in the second half of this year, with the first 500 to be complete within four years.

By 2030, every single child in NSW will have access to a full year of free, play-based learning in the year before school.

A re-elected NSW Liberal and Nationals Government will also legislate the right to universal pre-Kindergarten in the next term of government.

Premier Dominic Perrottet said this would kick-start learning for tens of thousands of kids across the state, setting them up for future success.

“NSW is leading the nation with our universal pre-Kindergarten program, which will give every single child access to free, high-quality learning in the year before they start school,” Mr Perrottet said.

“More than a third of communities across the state are experiencing an undersupply of childcare centres, with families facing long waitlists or long commutes to the nearest centre.

“That is why we will accelerate the program and get shovels in the ground this year to deliver the first 500 new preschools within four years, cutting childcare waiting lists and getting our kids learning sooner.

“The benefits of this are huge. Not only are we giving our kids a head start in life by kick-starting their education earlier, we’re giving more time back to busy parents.”

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW Paul Toole said the accelerated delivery of universal pre-Kindergarten represented a huge investment in regional communities.

“The bush is leading the charge on this major education reform, with 34 of the universal pre-

Kindergarten pilot sites and more than half of the first 500 universal pre-Kindergarten schools being in regional communities - helping kids from Kempsey to Coonamble take the first steps to a brighter future,” Mr Toole said.

“Universal pre-Kindergarten is an investment in families now and in setting the next generation up for the long-term.”

Treasurer Matt Kean said universal pre-Kindergarten will help grow the economy by setting ours kids up for lifelong financial success.

“Because of our universal pre-kindergarten policy, thousands more children are expected to go to preschool, adding $123,000 on average to their lifetime earnings,” Mr Kean said.

Minister for Education and Early Learning Sarah Mitchell said that she was pleased to be able to unveil the first 500 schools that will have purpose-built infrastructure for universal pre-Kindergarten.

“Universal pre-Kindergarten will require 100,000 places for our youngest learners, and we will deliver 50,000 in the next four years on school sites alone,” Ms Mitchell said.

“Our experience and capacity to deliver quality school infrastructure means we’ve been able to identify and assess initial sites faster than anticipated.

“Cementing universal pre-Kindergarten as a new part of the education journey for children in NSW will be the first thing on the legislative agenda for a re-elected NSW Liberal and Nationals Government.

“Under a Liberals and Nationals Government families have certainty. Labor’s commitment of 150 ‘new or upgraded’ preschools creates less than 6,000 places - a drop in the ocean compared to the 100,000 our universal pre-Kindergarten plans will deliver. Chris Minns will leave young families with less.”

The NSW Liberal and Nationals Government is investing more than $15.9 billion in early childhood to deliver a brighter future for every child in NSW.

This includes the introduction of universal pre-Kindergarten, the Brighter Beginnings initiatives, a workforce package for early childhood educators and the Affordable Preschool fee relief.

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