The Minns Labor Government is making the Active and Creative Kids voucher programs more sustainable by introducing a new and permanent means-tested scheme from Term 1 next year.
This will ensure around 600,000 school-aged kids in NSW can continue to participate in sports and creative programs across the state by helping low and middle income families with cost-of-living pressures.
Since forming government in March, we have been up front with the people of NSW about the economic challenges we have inherited from the former government.
The former government never funded the Active and Creative Kids or First Lap vouchers beyond June 30 this year.
They also handed over to us the largest debt in our state’s history, with the state on track for a record $187.5 billion in debt. Incoming briefs have also uncovered a $7 billion black hole of unfunded programs.
We can’t fix a decade of failure and wrong priorities from the former government overnight.
But we are working hard to repair the budget in a responsible way, while helping to ease cost-of-living and rebuilding our essential services – what we were elected to do.
The new voucher will be for $50 and will be issued twice a year, at the start of terms 1 and 3, beginning in 2024.
It will cover activities currently available under both the Active Kids and Creative Kids voucher programs.
The NSW Government and the Commonwealth Government will partner to share information on NSW families receiving Family Tax Benefit Part A. These families – almost half in NSW covering around 600,000 (out of 1.35 million total) school-aged children – will be able to access the vouchers.
The cost of the new Active and Creative Kids voucher program starting in 2024 is estimated at $28 million per year.
This compares with the cost of the previous schemes, which was estimated at $190 million in 2022-23, comprising of $136 million for Active Kids and $54 million for Creative Kids.
As an interim measure, the current Active Kids and Creative Kids vouchers will be extended from July 1 2023 until the new scheme is in place from 1 February 2023. The interim vouchers will be to the value of $50 for school-aged children.
School-aged children will also be eligible for a new $50 Creative Kids voucher from 1 July if they have not yet used their existing 2023 Creative Kids voucher.
The First Lap swim voucher program will be extended for 12 months, to the value of $50.
Chris Minns, NSW Premier said:
“This is a tough but economically responsible decision.
“I want kids from low and middle income families participating in sport, creative activities and learning to swim.
“This new program ensures we can continue these important initiatives in a fairer, more sustainable way.
“It was never a case of continuing funding; it was about finding the funds to continue the program because the former government failed to do so.”
Daniel Mookhey, NSW Treasurer said:
“Families in NSW must be able to give their kids every opportunity to learn and grow, which is exactly what Active and Creative Kids is about.
“Delivering for the best interests of the people of this State is what drives every decision the Minns Government makes.
“We believe we have found the correct balance in ensuring that Active and Creative Kids is delivered to the families who will most benefit from it, as part of a range of measures intended to address cost of living pressures.”
John Graham, NSW Minister for Arts said:
“It’s important that kids from low and middle income families have support to help their kids pursue creative activities.
“This is a sustainable way the Minns Government is supporting kids’ creativity.”
Steve Kamper, NSW Sports Minister said:
“The Liberals and Nationals spent hundreds of millions of dollars pork-barreling but left no funding for kids’ sport.
“The Minns Government has fought to make sure that NSW families facing the tightest budgets will still be supported to enrol their kids in sport.”
Premier of New South Wales
Special Minister of State, Minister for Roads, Minister for the Arts, Minister for Jobs and Tourism, Minister for Music and Night-time Economy
Treasurer of New South Wales
Minister for Small Business, Minister for Lands and Property, Minister for Multiculturalism, Minister for Sport