Govt confirms ACECQA funding for 3 years ahead of key Education Council meeting
Dan Tehan, Federal Minister for Education, has confirmed that the Australian Government will commit $46 million of funding to support the delivery of “nationally consistent and high quality early childhood education and care” under the National Quality Framework via national body the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) ahead of this week’s Education Council meeting to be held in Alice Springs.
The announcement will be well received by the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector and serves to meaningfully allay concerns that the results of the 2019 ACECQA review which will be tabled at the Education Council meeting, would be used as impetus to alter or close ACECQA, diminishing oversight and placing the delivery of consistent quality early learning across Australia at risk.
The review, endorsed by the Education Council in December 2018, had the primary objective of ensuring that “ACECQA’s operations remain ‘fit for purpose’ in the current early childhood education and care environment” and in line with the objectives and guiding principles of the National Law.
A total of $46 million has been allocated to ACECQA for the period commencing 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2023, equating to approximately $15.3 million per year.
The funds will be used to help ACECQA meet their responsibilities as highlighted in the provision of the Education and Care Services National Law (National Law) and associated regulations and as set out in Education’s Council Letter of Expectation.
Commenting on the commitment Mr Tehan noted that “ACECQA is integral to the delivery of quality early education and care outcomes for children throughout Australia and supports a consistent national approach to regulation across all states and territories.”
Mr Tehan’s comments were backed up by ACECQA Chairperson Ms Judy Hebblethwaite who in an ACECQA media release said “On behalf of the Board and staff of the Australian Children’s Education and Care Authority (ACECQA), I would like to thank the Hon. Dan Tehan MP and the Australian Government for this welcome decision to continue funding the Authority.”
Outcome of NQF review and Universal Access National Partnership review also expected
As well as the outcomes of the ACECQA review the Education Council meeting should also see the tabling of two other key ECEC sector reviews namely the Review of the National Quality Framework (NQF) and the Review of the Universal Access National Partnership.
With respect to the NQF review it was first referenced in the December 2018 Education Council communiqué with the terms of reference released in April 2019 and with respect to the National Partnership review it was referenced in the June 2019 communiqué and has been coordinated by consulting group NOUS with the expectation that an initial report will be submitted to Education Council by the end of 2019.
The results of the upcoming Education Council meeting will be released via communiqué on the Education Council website post the meeting which is due to complete on 12 December 2019.