Media Release by The Hon Larry Anthony MP

New South Wales fails preschool test

Federal Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Larry Anthony, today said that families in New South Wales are not getting a fair deal when it comes to preschools.

“Figures from the Productivity Commission’s Report on Government Services 2003 show the New South Wales Labor Government is spending less than any other State per child in preschool.

“The report shows State funding for preschool services in 2001-2002 ranged from $4,065 per child in the Northern Territory to a dismal $881 per child in New South Wales.

“In fact, expenditure per child on preschool services in New South Wales has been approximately half of the national average for the last five years.

“The New South Wales Labor Government has a terrible record on funding preschools. Funding in 2001-2002 had not even been returned to 1997-1998 levels. This has meant that families around the State have not been receiving the preschool services they deserve.

“This is in stark comparison to the Coalition Government’s commitment to child care. Across all child care service types, the Commonwealth is funding more child care places than ever before. Child care places increased from 99,049 in 1996 to 150,234 in 2001 in New South Wales.

“We have also increased funding for child care in New South Wales to a record approximate $483 million in 2001-2002.

“No matter what spin the State Labor Minister will put on this, preschools in New South Wales are in a disgraceful state. Preschools are wholly the responsibility of State and Territory Governments and the New South Wales Labor Government has come last in the preschool test,” Mr Anthony said.