“Proper funding” needed to increase NSW participation rate in LDC: ACA NSW
The Australian Childcare Alliance (ACA) New South Wales branch is calling for urgent reconsideration of “proper government funding” for four-year-old children in long day care (LDC) in the lead up to the NSW election, stating that NSW has the lowest participation rate and “arguably the lowest preschool funding arrangements in the country”.
The ACA NSW is also calling on the NSW Government for proper government funding of all three-year-old children regardless of early childhood education and care (ECEC) setting, in anticipation of probable future Federal-State funding after the upcoming Federal election.
“NSW, just like the rest of Australia, provides a world-class ECEC service to children aged birth to five years old. In NSW, four-year-old children in LDC receive NSW Government assistance of up to $450 per child per year. Yet for example a Victorian four-year-old child in the same setting can receive $3,695 per year – why do NSW four-year-old children in LDC get less?” asked Chiang Lim, CEO of ACA NSW.
The NSW branch said that it is important to point out that Australia’s childcare is more than a place for children to be cared for while their parents work, instead providing opportunities for children to learn and have lasting, positive impacts on their future educational, health, social and economic outcomes.
“We should be taking advantage of the existing preschool education infrastructure that already exists across all LDC services where the majority of NSW families already enrol their children. Providing greater government support will make access easier for this cohort of children by assisting services with the cost of delivering their preschool programs. This will lift NSW up and may even exceed national preschool participation levels,” said Mr Lim.
In the lead up to the NSW election on 23 March, the ACA NSW branch said that it is “imperative that all MPs and political candidates make funding and access to quality ECEC for all NSW children a priority”, pointing to over 189,000 children across the state who do not access any type of formal early learning.
“It is alarming that far too many NSW parents cannot afford to enrol their children in any type of early learning environment either at all or for additional days. We call on the NSW Government to help as many children in NSW as possible to get a better start in life,” Mr Lim said.