By CELA on 25 Sep, 2023

CELA welcomes the NSW Government’s recognition that community and small providers play an important role in delivering high-quality education and care.

In particular, the $20 million to support the growth of not-for-profit early childhood education services in high demand areas and up to $6.5 million for the business capability development program to improve the viability of small and standalone services is being celebrated. The program will focus on leadership, management, and financial capability development.

‘Childcare deserts’ will be targeted, and regional economies will be boosted as the funding delivers new childcare places and support for more parents to work hours of their choosing. 

We have worked across all levels of government to grow investment in not-for profit and small providers for many years,” said CELA’s CEO Michele Carnegie. “It is exciting to see the NSW Government coming to the table with new funding to improve the viability of small and standalone services in the NSW Budget.

Research shows that small providers deliver the majority of early education and care services across the country, charging fees 11% lower on average than the daily fee for large providers.1 

The 2023-24 NSW Budget provides funding to improve children’s access to quality early education and address critical workforce shortages. This includes: 

  • $769.3 million to deliver 100 new preschools on government school sites and $60 million for new and upgraded preschools at non-government schools. 
  • A new trial delivering $500 fee relief for three-year-old children in preschool programs delivered in long day care, in addition to the existing $4,222/ per year fee relief for 3–5-year-olds in community preschools and $2,110/ year for four-year-olds in long day care. 
  • $28.5 million in workforce initiatives including $22 million in professional development and scholarships, $3 million to strengthen the workforce pipeline and a trial of free or low cost ECEC for the children of ECEC teachers and educators. 

Additionally, the government has set aside up to $20.0 million for the Flexible Initiatives Trial to expand access to early childhood education and care, extend hours, and assist parents re-entering the workforce.

The Minns Labor Government is proud and excited about the progress we are making on delivering more early childhood places across the state,” Deputy Premier and Minister for Education and Early Learning Prue Car said. “This is the largest expansion of public preschools in NSW history.

The NSW Government has maintained:

  • $5 billion investment in the Childcare Economic Opportunity Fund to expand access and reduce fees in long day care
  • $5.7 billion for universal preschool access

CELA will continue to work with the Deputy Premier to deliver these initiatives.

“Our cooperation will also highlight the importance of a quality NSW early childhood sector, especially in our regional and remote communities,” said CELA CEO Michele Carnegie.


Image via Facebook @PruCarMP

The NSW Government signaled that this is just the beginning of their mission to shape a positive future for younger generations, with quality preschool a top priority.



1. ACCC. (2023). Pricing practices and operating costs of childcare services to be examined as latest ACCC report confirms fees outpaced inflation. Australian Competition & Consumer Commission.

About CELA

Community Early Learning Australia is a not for profit organisation with a focus on amplifying the value of early learning for every child across Australia - representing our members and uniting our sector as a force for quality education and care.

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