NSW government budget preschool plan under fire

Families are being touted as the biggest winners of this year’s NSW budget but the opposition claims most won’t benefit from one of the government’s main sweeteners.

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet on Tuesday announced a surplus of $3.9 billion declaring his budget – delivered nine months out from the state election – was one “for the people”.

A key measure was a $198 million early-childhood package which provides subsidies for three-year-old’s to attend pre-school.

But Labor’s Kate Washington argued the benefit would only apply to those in community pre-schools and not long-daycare services where 80 per cent of parents choose to send their children.

“This funding will be missed by the majority of families in NSW,” Ms Washington told reporters in Sydney on Wednesday.

Australian Childcare Alliance NSW president Lyn Connolly labelled the funding “discriminatory” claiming only two out of 10 families would benefit.

“These families won’t have any access at all and we’ll have to explain to them why they have been disregarded,” Ms Connolly said.

The government is also facing criticism from the NSW Council of Social Service for not having any significant measures to address housing affordability.

In an address to business leaders in Sydney, Mr Perrottet acknowledged the government could do more to address housing supply, but pointed to measures in last year’s budget to address demand.

“We should be doing a lot more on the supply side,” Mr Perrottet admitted.

Mr Perrottet said the government had already overseen a record amount of development approvals in recent years, adding he was open to considering other ways it could add to supply.

“We’re always open to doing them because it’s important that we continue to fight that supply and put downward pressure on prices,” he said.

Mr Perrottet said while the NSW property market had recently cooled – which resulted in a significant hit to government stamp duty revenue – he was optimistic about the future.

“We’re seeing a softening, but at the same time, over time the property market will continue to improve.”

Source: AAP


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