In a state budget full of sweeteners for voters, NSW families look set to be the big winners with millions of dollars being invested with the government declaring it was "building today and delivering for tomorrow".
Families will now receive a 'Creative Kids' voucher in addition to the current 'Active Kids' voucher which was rolled out this year. The new rebate will apply to music lessons, language classes art and drama along with coding courses.
"We know this won't cover all the costs," Treasurer Dominic Perrottet announced in his speech.
"But we want to open up a world of opportunity for our kids. Giving more parents - and more children - the encouragement they need to reach their potential."
Universal pre-school for three-year-olds in 2019
Reports are consistently released which show the long-term benefits for children if universal access to preschool was provided to three-year-olds.
Until now, in Australia only four-year-olds have been guaranteed a place in pre-school. However the evidence is mounting globally that two years of preschool gives children the best start.
For NSW families that is about to change. Where once children were only subsidised as four-year-olds, NSW is now stepping up to the plate as the first state government to expand preschool subsidies to three-year-olds, saving families about $825 a year from January, 2019.
Free hampers for new parents to ‘ease the cost of living’
The parents of babies born in NSW from 2019 will be gifted a $150 'baby bundle', which is essentially baby products and health messaging to help ease the financial burden of the early days of parenthood.
Each hamper will contain 'lifesaving' baby sleepwear, in line with safe sleeping guidelines issued by SIDS prevention organisation, Red Nose.
"Every baby born in NSW will receive a free 'lifesaving' hamper containing a sleeping bag, wrap, nappies, change mat and children's book to help ease the burden on new parents," reports The Daily Teegraph. The hampers "also include washable breastpads, a thermometer, sanitiser, toothbrush and nappy rash cream."
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the hampers are also designed to offset the financial burden of new babies while also encouraging new parents to consume the important health and safety messaging.
What else is in store for NSW families?
New parents will benefit from:
- $16.9 million for new mums including an extra 100 midwives, more nurse home visits, five additional Family Care Centre Hubs, and help for mothers with severe and complex mental illness.
- $7.6 million for the NSW Baby Bundle
Families will benefit from:
- Up to an extra $200 per year for each child in school with the Active Kids rebate and the new Creative Kids voucher
- Guaranteed access to two years of early childhood education for all three-year-old kids.
Young people will benefit from:
- Fee-free Smart apprenticeships, with 100,000 placements to be provided
- Improved youth facilities with new and upgraded Police Citizens Youth Clubs across the state.