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NSW pre-school record 'least generous' says Beazley

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Parliament House Canberra, A.C.T. 260 0

Ministerial 18

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11 April 1974,

The Minister for Education, Mr. Kim Beazley, said today New South Wales had the least generous record of any Australian State in providing pre-school education.

"Criticism of the New South Wales record has nothing to do with the political colour of the State Government", Mr. Beazley said.

"New South Wales has in the past spent only about 17 cents a head on pre-school education each year on a population· basis.

"This compares most unfavourably with Queensland, which spends at least $1.20 per head, and Victoria, which spends more than $1.43 per head."

Mr. Beazley said that the Prime Minister, Mr. Whitlam, had written to the NSW Government last August, notifying it that $3-67 million of Australian Government funds would be available to NSW for pre-schools in the first six months of 1974.

"The fact is that no plan was put forward in response to this by NSW. Other States were ready with their plans when the Prime Minister called for them in February.

"NSW itself eventually provided the information on which the $1.8 million allocation was based. ’

"No money was transferred from NSW pre-schools to pre­ schools in other States.

"This would be morally indefensible."

Mr. Beazley said that the number of new capital projects approved for inclusion in New South Wales' interim program is higher than the number approved for any other State.

■ This will provide a basis for the growth of pre-school

opportunities in NSW.

"The real problem is that NSW cannot make up its mind about who is to be responsible for pre-school education in that State.

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' l!It is outrageous to blame the Australian Government for the lack of decisions, the lack of forward planning and the lack of resources which mark the NSW pre-school situation.

. "The NSW Government itself has chosen in the past to

spend little on pre-schools. We are now ensuring that greater sums will be spent."'

Mr. Beazley said in the Interim Pre-School program •he had approved amounts totalling $4.3 million for NSW. -"This provides recurrent assistance of $1.3 million · for the period to June 30, 1974, and provides for 72 capital

projects estimated to cost nearly $3 million. -■ "The June 30 is $1,823,000.

"Additional funds will be available in the context of future Budgets for the balance of capital projects committed before June 30. -

. Mr. Beazley said that when he announced these program

approvals earlier this week, he also drew attention to progress under the Child Care Act. Under this Act 36 full day care :

projects have been approved in New South Wales at an estimated cost, of $3-59 million. In addition, recurrent assistance is ; being paid to 24- full day care centres in NSW and the estimated annual cost of this assistance is $380,000.

Inquiries .: Ken Henrick, Press Secretary

Phone : 73 ■ 3261