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NSW Announces Free Preschool For Six Months

Preschool will be free for the next six months across NSW, Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced on Thursday.

The $50 million measure will help "families [who] are under pressure," Berejiklian said.

It will also help to boost the preschool sector at a time where it's reporting a significant drop in new enrollments.

"We know that sector has been hit quite hard by COVID-19... This is all about making sure this is cost-effective for parents. We know how crucial early childhood education is," NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said.

Mitchell said the NSW package would complement the federal government's childcare package that covers before and after school care.

NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell. Image: AAP.

The federal government's initiative will fund half of the costs of Australia's 13,000 childcare and early learning centres and has been valued at $1.6 billion.

Mitchell said the NSW government would also use the holiday break to "work out what term two will look like" for primary and secondary schools across the state.

It comes as NSW records 39 new cases of coronavirus, the lowest number of new cases since March 16.

NSW now has 21 deaths and the national toll stands at 50.

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In the Thursday morning update, NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller also confirmed the investigation into the Ruby Princess cruise ship has commenced.

"Under the order of the New South Wales state coroner, NSW Police officers entered the Ruby Princess to gather evidence in relation to the Ruby Princess investigation," Fuller said.

"They spoke to the captain of the ship, who was extremely helpful... Evidence has been seized for further investigation. I can confirm there's still over 1,000 crew members on the ship."

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Fuller also warned people to stay home over the Easter weekend as police will be searching caravan parks for holiday makers breaking coronavirus restrictions.

"We'll protect our border towns and we'll protect our coastal areas during this busy period," he said.

NSW police chief Mick Fuller provides an update on the state's measures to tackle coronavirus. Image: AAP

"Tickets have been issued again overnight. [There were] 24 for non-isolation issues, and many of those are tagged with other criminal behaviours."

"Up to date we have 5,000 Crime Stoppers reports in relation to people flouting the laws."

Do you have a story tip to share? Contact Eden at egillespie@networkten.com.au