Early Childhood Education in the spotlight for future funding

LISMORE MP Janelle Saffin will be hosting the NSW Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Learning, Jodie Harrison at two events in Nimbin and at Australian Red Cross’s end-of-year awards presentation in Byron Bay tomorrow, Tuesday 1st December. 

The pair will visit Nimbin Community Preschool which should benefit from their consistent lobbying of the NSW Government to extend its free preschool program with a $120-million investment into next year.

Ms Saffin said NSW Labor had called on the Government to continue free preschool for a further 18 months past 1 January 2021.

"Subsequently, a couple of weeks before the State Budget they agreed it would continue for a further 12 months,” 

Ms Saffin praised the commitment of Teacher-Director of Nimbin Community Preschool, Katie Pennant and her team of educators.

"They provide education and support to the children and their families yet struggle to keep their doors open," Ms Saffin said.  

An educator of 25 years, Ms Pennant has been with the Preschool since 2017.

"The children inspire me, and make every single day magical," she said. 

Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Learning, Jodie Harrison said the COVID-19 pandemic has lifted the lid on the complexity of how the early childhood learning sector is structured and funded.

“This Government now has the opportunity for reform, and I am keen to listen to the experiences of educators who have continued to front up and deliver quality learning experiences to the children of NSW during this very difficult time,” Ms Harrison said.

The MPs will also present a NSW Government Community Service Award to CWA Nimbin Secretary Dr Catharina ‘Kitty’ Van Vuuren in recognition of her and her fellow branch members’ vital role in supporting their local community during the Mount Nardi bushfire a year ago.

The MPs will also attend Australian Red Cross’s end-of-year gathering and award presentation at Byron Bay’s Cavanbah Centre, with the venue chosen as a central location for the national charity’s volunteers, many of them from Lismore.

Volunteers will be receiving long service and distinguished service awards; awards from the NSW Premier for their service in the 2019-20 bushfire response across our region; and the 2020 NSW Resilient Australia Award (Community Category) for Tweed emergency services volunteers who rolled out the Community Resilience Teams Project in a number of villages in the Tweed Shire.