Landmark childcare reforms become law
Families across NSW will be able to access cheaper, high quality childcare after the legislation underpinning the Government’s landmark women’s economic opportunity reforms passed Parliament.
The NSW Childcare and Economic Opportunity Fund Act 2022 will drive up to $5 billion of investment in the sector over 10 years to support NSW families with access to childcare.
Treasurer Matt Kean said the legislation would provide long-term certainty to the sector and boost women’s workforce participation as part of the NSW Government’s $15.9 billion investment in childcare and early childhood education.
“We have enshrined this fund into law to give more NSW families access to high quality, affordable childcare. Importantly, it will boost women’s economic security by dismantling the barriers for mothers wanting to take on more paid work,” Mr Kean said.
“These landmark reforms will help create new places in childcare deserts for parents who face the highest disincentives to work.”
The NSW Government’s investment in childcare and early childhood education, delivered alongside the Commonwealth’s childcare reforms, are expected to allow up to 95,000 women to enter the workforce or take on more hours and boost affordable childcare supply by up to 47,000 places.
Minister for Women Bronnie Taylor said the Fund added to other measures announced in the 2022-23 NSW Budget to transform women’s economic opportunity, boost women’s workplace participation and tackle the gender pay gap.
“This fund will help close the gender workforce participation gap by up to 14 per cent within a decade and give more women the genuine choice to re-enter the workforce when they want,” Mrs Taylor said.
Minister for Education and Early Learning Sarah Mitchell said the Fund will allow the early childhood sector to expand and innovate by establishing new services, growing existing services, and supporting the sector more broadly.
“Access to high quality early childhood education and care is one of the most important things we can do to give children the best start in life, helping young children develop their social skills and open up lifelong opportunities from their earliest years,” Ms Mitchell said.
“This fund will guarantee investment in this key sector, supporting it to provide the highest quality of education and care during the formative years of a child’s life.”
The NSW Government will conduct extensive consultation with families and the sector to design the rollout of the Childcare and Economic Opportunity Fund. A board will be established to oversee funding decisions about projects.
The fund is due to open for applications mid-next year.