Dominic Perrottet is calling his government’s latest policy announcement a “once-in-a-generation” transformation. This is because NSW is boosting its spending on childcare by a whopping $5 billion. According to The Guardian, Perrottet said; “We know this is an area that has been in the too-hard basket for too long.” He also noted; “We are going through a time where it’s becoming even more challenging for young families to balance work and family life.”
But how is this cash actually being spent? Well, as per the Financial Review, a percentage of it will be used to expand pre-existing childcare centres and create new ones. These developments will be happening in “childcare deserts.” The Sydney Morning Herald describes childcare deserts as areas where there’s too much demand for childcare services and not enough supply. There are currently some areas of the state where there’s only one childcare space available for every seven kids that may need it.
The Sydney Morning Herald also reports that Perrottet said; “We know that childcare places are scarce in some postcodes, making it difficult for parents to return to paid work when they want. Improving accessibility to childcare by investing in supply will provide practical assistance to families with young ones.”
Channel Seven stated that Perrottet’s scheme could result in an extra 47,000 childcare places being built each year. Moreover, it’ll potentially result in families paying $4000 less for putting a kid of theirs in childcare.
This project will additionally drop $281 million on upping the number of people working in childcare. The ABC stated that the government will be offering folks child care scholarships in order to incentivise them to study the subject at uni. These scholarships will max out at $25,000. It’s worth noting that the government will also be providing $2,000 vocational education scholarships.
The NSW government is hoping that this investment will lead to seismic changes throughout the state. As Treasurer Matt Kean said; “This investment, delivered alongside the Commonwealth’s childcare reforms, is expected to see up to 95,000 women enter the workforce or take on more hours, driving down the gender workforce participation gap by up to 14 percent within a decade.”
So, what does NSW Labor think about this plan? Its leader Chris Minns wasn’t impressed. He believed that this announcement is too future-focused and doesn’t provide support to families right here and right now. Minns said; “If you’ve got a child who’s two years old, you’re unlikely to benefit from the changes that have been announced today.” He also argued; “The simple fact is that we’ve got a cost of living crisis today. Help needs to be provided by the government to families today.”