LABOR has made a lot of pledges ahead of the upcoming state election, but the crown jewel is arguably its $500 million early childhood education package.
Speaking at Goodstart Early Childhood Centre in Muswellbrook on Tuesday, Upper Hunter candidate Melanie Dagg revealed how that cornerstone policy would affect the region.
There will be an additional 980 funded places for three and four-year-olds as part of a $292 million promise dubbed Little Kids Big Futures, which is designed to extend access to pre-school in rural and remote areas.
A further $15 million would be spent to help fill in critical gaps in services throughout regional NSW.
"This means we’re able to support families as well, enabling them to ensure that their kids are getting good, early education, a good start before they get to school and it also allows parents to get back to work as well,” Mrs Dagg said.
However, she admits there is no dollar figure as to exactly how much of those funds will be spent on the Upper Hunter.
Education has been a focus of the party ahead of March 23 as they have previously vowed to get rid of demountables and add air-conditioning to every classroom, although this was matched by the Coalition on Monday.
“We've been focused on health and education right from the get go here,” Mrs Dagg said.
“For us, this election is all about priorities and funding the things that matter and really make a difference to people’s day-to-day lives.”
The overall package would be completely state-funded, however Mrs Dagg said it was part of federal Labor's plans for the sector, too.
Details include the intention to fully fund three-year-olds in long day care centres, double the support for four-year-olds and increase access to pathologists, speech therapists and psychologists.
It seems like education is the latest battleground for the major parties, with promises coming in on an almost daily basis as decision day approaches.