MEDIA RELEASE: PICCOLI TELLS SOUTH COAST PARENTS TO PAY UP
MEDIA RELEASE: MINISTER SAYS $40-A-DAY PRESCHOOL "PRETTY GOOD" - PICCOLI TELLS SOUTH COAST PARENTS TO PAY UP
Education Minister Adrian Piccoli has shown how out of touch the O'Farrell Government is – describing a $40-a-day preschool fee increase as "pretty good" and stating that anyone forking out $200 across the five-day week would be a "fortunate parent".
"This is an Education Minister who simply has no idea what it's like for parents struggling with the rising cost of living," Duty MLC for Bega and South Coast, Penny Sharpe said.
"Many local families have now learnt they will be slugged with fees of up to $40-a-day for their child to attend a government preschool because of the Education Minister's changes.
"If Adrian Piccoli is going to thrust his hands into the pockets of mums and dads, the least he can do is show a bit of sensitivity.
"From the beginning of next year, government preschools will charge fees of up to $40 a day. This change was announced in the Budget with absolutely no consultation and its hasty introduction means many parents have been left in the lurch.
"Many parents had already enrolled their child in a government preschool and are now having to pay a fee they never anticipated or budgeted for. They are finding it too late to make other arrangements."
Local government preschools set to see fees dramatically increase include Batemans Bay Public School and Nowra East Public School.
"The Minister could not even advise the budget estimates committee how much revenue his cash grab would raise so rushed is the Government's action. And yet the Government has ruled out returning any revenue raised back into early childhood education," Ms Sharpe said.
"In Opposition, the Coalition professed a commitment to increase the numbers attending preschool.
"But in Government they impose fees – and as a result, some Government preschools report they will either have to either reduce the number of classes they offer or even shut altogether.
"Many local families did not know they would be forced to fork out these extra fees when they signed up for another year of preschool.
"It will be a tragedy if children miss out on that all-important preschool experience because of Adrian Piccoli's misguided views on what parents can afford."