Early Childhood Education - Question Time

Ms JODIE HARRISON: My question is directed to the Minister for Early Childhood Education. The budget papers show her Government has underspent the early childhood education budget by more than $310 million over the past three years. Will she give an assurance to this House and parents across New South Wales that the 2015-16 allocation will be spent in full, delivering the maximum number of preschool places possible for the community?

Mrs LESLIE WILLIAMS: I congratulate the shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education on her promotion to the front bench. I note she has distributed a media release following the budget. One can assume that she has read the budget, which is a start.

The SPEAKER: Order! The member for Canterbury will come to order.

Mrs LESLIE WILLIAMS: I am sorry that when the shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education distributed her media release she had not been provided with all the information. I am pleased that I am now able to put the facts on the table. I will refer to the media release distributed by the shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education because it provides some interesting information. I refer to her figures. She says that in 2013-14 the actual spend on early childhood education was $236.8 million.

The SPEAKER: Order! The Minister is directly answering the question. Opposition members will cease interjecting. I call the member for Wollongong to order for the first time. The Minister has the call.

Mrs LESLIE WILLIAMS: According to the shadow Minister's media release, in 2014-15 the actual spend by the Coalition on early childhood education was $262.9 million. That is an increase. What she did not mention in the media release, which I am sure members will be interested to hear, is what was spent in 2010-11. The Coalition was not in Government then.

Ms Linda Burney: Point of order: My point of order relates to Standing Order 129, relevance.

The SPEAKER: The Minister has been entirely relevant. The member for Canterbury will resume her seat. The member should resume her seat. I call the member for Canterbury to order for the third time. I have asked her three times to resume her seat.

Mrs LESLIE WILLIAMS: I am concerned that I am going to run out of time. I have just been advised that the Minister responsible for early childhood education in 2010-11 was the member for Canterbury.

The SPEAKER: I cannot hear the Minister. I will wait until the House comes to order. Government members will come to order.

Mr Michael Daley: Point of order: My point of order relates to Standing Order 129. The question was not about the 2010-11 period.

The SPEAKER: The Minister is being relevant. The member for Maroubra will resume his seat.

Mrs LESLIE WILLIAMS: I think the member for Maroubra was the Minister for Finance at the time. In 2010-11, the spend on early childhood education was $210 million. In 2014-15 the spend was $262.9 million. They were the figures in the member's media release. I am glad the Opposition has asked me this question, because over the past three years the spend on early childhood education services by this Government increased by 15.4 per cent. In fact, every spend on early childhood education under the Coalition Government has been higher than Labor's last budget. As the first early childhood education Minister in this State, I am pleased that we have seen a budget that is $85 million higher than last year's expenditure. [Time expired.]