NATIONALS TO GUARANTEE FUTURE OF PRESCHOOLS

Nationals To Guarantee Future Of Preschools

NATIONALS TO GUARANTEE FUTURE OF PRESCHOOLS

19 March 2003

Nationals' Member for Lismore, Thomas George, today welcomed the announcement that a Liberal/National Government would guarantee the future of preschools by injecting an additional $50 million over four years into community preschools.

Mr George said the Nationals would also transfer community preschools from the responsibility of the crisis-ridden Department of Community Services (DOCS) to the Department of Education.

"Eight hundred community-based preschools across the State will share in the additional funding," Mr George said.

"I have been lobbying hard for this funding and have met with many local pre-schools, including parents and directors who have highlighted to me just how bad the situation is," Mr George said.

"This $50 million injection reflects the Nationals' commitment to early childhood education. It is great news for pre-schools in the Lismore electorate.

"We believe that preschools offer an invaluable opportunity for children to develop the skills needed in later life.

"Education is the key to every child's future. Under Sydney Labor, preschools haven't received the attention they deserve.

"Eight years of Sydney Labor have seen the budgets of community-based preschools often run into the red and some centres have been forced to close. We need to turn around Sydney Labor's neglect and ensure vital educational opportunities are not denied to our children."

Mr George said under a Liberal/National Government attendance at preschool would remain optional but all preschools would come under the administration of the Department of Education.

"The Nationals are committed to delivering a new and invigorated focus on educational outcomes, to be achieved by removing preschools from the present DOCS structure," Mr George said.

"I am also pleased a Coalition Government will establish a Ministerial Advisory Committee, to report to the Minister for Education and comprising preschool representatives and parents to develop an optional pre-school curriculum ensuring best practice in early childhood education.

"This policy is a logical extension of the Coalition's commitment to lower class sizes to an average of 21 students in Kindergarten and Years 1 and 2, down from Labor's average of 26.
"I have no doubt the benefits of this policy will more than outweigh the costs, not only for individuals and the whole of our local community, but also Statewide.

"It has been found that for every $1 spent in the early years of a child's development, the community saves $7 in other social services." (NSW Legislative Council's Standing Committee on Social Issues, Inquiry into Early Intervention for Children with Learning Difficulties, 2002, p.4).

"This commitment from the Nationals is of enormous importance to the future generations of the Lismore electorate and across the State," Mr George said.

Lismore Contact Details:

Office: 55 Carrington Street  LISMORE
Postal: PO Box 52  LISMORE  NSW  2480
Telephone: 02 6621 3624
Facsimile: 02 6622 1403
Email: lismore@parliament.nsw.gov.au

Murwillumbah Contact Details:

Telephone: 02 6672 7577