Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke has announced greater opportunities on offer for preschool aged children in the Cootamundra electorate thanks to a $6 million infrastructure investment which will provide support for almost 400 new preschool places across the state.

The grants will allow preschool services to build, extend or renovate facilities to increase preschool places where there is evidence of high need and growing demand.

The funding is part of the additional $42.1 million investment in the NSW Government’s Capital Works Grants program, which was announced in the 2018-19 State Budget to support NSW preschools over the next four years, and Ms Cooke said she is proud the NSW Government is investing more in early childhood education than ever before.

“The Liberals & Nationals are prioritising early childhood education after years of neglect under former Labor governments, which means children in areas like the Cootamundra electorate have more opportunities than ever before,” she said.

“The government recently announced a $197.8 million investment to subsidise all three-year-olds in community preschools, so this round of Capital Works is integral in ensuring there is enough space for the anticipated increase in enrolments in preschools.

“Preschools are such an important part of any child’s journey into education and I’m so excited that these first steps will be available for as many children as possible.”

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian highlighted the growth in demand for preschool places.

“There are more children attending preschool for 600 hours in the year before school than ever before, and the Government is making sure services are supported,” she said.

“The NSW Liberals & Nationals Government has reduced preschool fees, is continuing to improve the quality of services, and is meeting the demand for future enrolment growth through ongoing investment in infrastructure.”

Minister for Early Childhood Education Sarah Mitchell said preschool enrolments are expected to boom in the coming years, so the Government must be prepared.

“Looking forward, population data shows the number of preschool-aged children in NSW will increase by 6 per cent by 2021.The NSW Government is meeting this head on, and recognises that children and families living in growth areas require high quality preschool services that suit their needs,” Ms Mitchell said.

“Since the Capital Works Grants program was introduced in 2013, the NSW Government has invested $28 million to help almost 70 preschools either extend their existing preschool or build a brand new one. It is estimated that this investment has increased preschool places in NSW by more than 1500.”

Applications are currently open for Capital Works Grants here: https://education.nsw.gov.au/early-childhood-education/operating-an-early-childhood-education-service/grants-and-funded-programs/capital-works-grants