Matt Kean says 95k women returning to work could add $17bn to NSW economy

The NSW government believes more than 95,000 women with children will be able to take on more hours or re-enter the workforce thanks to the Coalition’s $15.9bn investment into childcare and pre-kindergarten education programs.

A funding mix between the state and commonwealth governments, the policies include a $5.8bn plan to give every NSW child a year of pre-kindergarten education, subsidies for preschool and childcare programs and support for women returning to work.

Making the announcement on International Women’s Day, NSW Treasurer Matt Kean said the combined policies would boost the state’s economy by $17bn every year, plus increase childcare spots by 47,000 places across the state.

“That will ensure that no woman in NSW has to choose between having a career and having a family, and I think that’s something we should all be celebrating this International Women’s Day,” Mr Kean said.

Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said the government wanted to find more “innovative” ways to support families, like childcare for families who work varied hours like shiftworkers.

“What does this look like with our hospital campuses, are there ways we can better work with industry for longer hours childcare?” she said.

“We know how important those first five years right now, we know that everything that we can do to set children up with a great start makes such a difference for their lifelong trajectory.”

NSW government brings forward plan for free Pre-K

On Tuesday, the government pledged to begin construction on 500 public preschools by the end of 2023 if they won the state election.

The announcement was part of the Coalition’s greater $5.8bn plan to give every child in NSW a year of universal pre-kindergarten by 2030.

Premier Dominic Perrottet said the universal pre-kindergarten would help curb demand for childcare.

“We know there is significant demand for childcare and preschool services across NSW, with many families facing long waitlists or long commutes to the nearest facility,” he said.

“The benefits of this are huge. Not only are we giving our kids a head start in life by kickstarting their early learning, we’re giving more time back to busy parents.”

Ms Mitchell estimated the 500 new preschools would cater for 50,000 places.

“Universal pre-kindergarten will require 100,000 places for our youngest learners, and we will deliver 50,000 in the next four years on public 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.”

Victoria has also made the commitment, with families of three-year-olds able to access five to 15 hours of free kinder a week. Families of four-year-olds can access 15 hours of free kinder.

Originally published as Treasurer Matt Kean reveals economic impact of 95,000 women returning to work,

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