Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke MP hosted NSW Minister for Early Education Sarah Mitchell in the Cootamundra electorate today, to spread the word about the Budget’s big wins for early childhood education.

Three year olds will be the first in Australia to benefit from Government subsidised preschool education as part of the NSW Government’s $197 million investment in the NSW 2018-19 Budget.

The new funding, part of the NSW Government’s Start Strong program, will mean more children will be able to attend preschool and it will also significantly reduce fees.

“Our region’s future doctors, teachers and agronomists are being shaped in our early childhood services as we speak, so this announcement means more children are getting the best possible start to their educational journeys as possible,” Ms Cooke said.

“More than $235,000 in grants for capital works, new mobile venues, programs and educator training has been provided for preschools in the Cootamundra electorate in the past 12 months and I’m so proud to see this investment continue in the 18-19 Budget,” she added.

Minister Mitchell and Ms Cooke visited preschools in Gundagai, Cootamundra and Junee to talk about funding opportunities with local preschools. Ms Mitchell said extending the subsidy to three-year-olds is just another way the NSW Government is improving the cost-of-living for families across the state.

“Because of this funding, average daily fees for three year olds in community preschools are expected to drop from an average of $51 to $36, saving families up to $1,557 by 2023,” she said.

“As a mother to young children myself, I know how important these savings are and I am excited to welcome the first cohort of subsidised three year olds in February 2019.”

The NSW Government’s Start Strong program was introduced in 2016 and has already seen significant success for children attending preschool for 600 hours in the year before school – a reduction in average daily fees by 25 per cent and an increase in enrolments by 40 per cent.