NSW's "free preschool" extended to 2022?

Yesterday, the NSW Treasurer (the Hon Dominic Perrottet MP) and the NSW Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning (the Hon Sarah Mitchell MLC) announced that the NSW Government will extend its "free preschool" for a third year to 2022. This funding will now be called the NSW Start Strong Free Preschool program for mobile and community preschools.


Please note, this funding to date and for 2022 is for the 763 community and mobile preschools who support up to 28,879 places of children, and not for the over 3,309 long daycare services who are supporting up to 185,397  places of children.


Members of the Australian Childcare Alliance (ACA) NSW would already be aware that ACA NSW has been in talks with the NSW Department of Education of the unintended negative consequences of the NSW Government's "free preschool" decision for 2021. NSW Minister Mitchell is also aware of ACA NSW's significant concerns and dissatisfaction.


While long daycare services and ACA NSW were understanding of the NSW Government's decision in 2020 during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the NSW Government's decision to extend it for a second year (to December 2021) appear to have caused hundreds of long daycare services to lose enrolments for that preschool cohort of children of between 6.67% to 45.45%! Moreover, these negative consequences are not isolated to any particular part(s) of New South Wales.



ACA NSW is in discussions today with representatives of the NSW Treasurer and the NSW Department of Education and will provide a more comprehensive response after tomorrow's NSW Budget has been fully delivered beginning at 12 pm, Tuesday, 22 June 2021.


It should be noted that:


  1. The Federal Government has already announced that the NSW Government that the full Commonwealth funding of $1,340 per child per year will be passed onto all preschool children in their year-before-school in all settings from 2022 onwards. This is a significant correction to the $313 or $469 (typically) or $885 per child per year that NSW's long daycare services had been receiving to date via NSW's Start Strong funding.
  2. Given that the NSW state election must be held on Saturday, 25 March 2023, ACA NSW suspects it is more than likely that the "free preschool" funding will be extended again for a fourth year (ie 2023).

Should any member require any further information/clarification, please contact ACA NSW on 1300 556 330 or nsw@childcarealliance.org.au.