KPMG report praised by the broader ECEC sector – ‘There’s never been a better time’
Yesterday’s KPMG report, The child care subsidy: Options for increasing support for caregivers who want to work, has drawn praise from much of the early childhood education and care (ECEC), with peak body Early Childhood Australia (ECA) saying “there has never been a better time” to address the recommendations made in the report and make early learning more accessible.
Along with ECA, The Early Learning and Care Council of Australia (ELACCA), the Australian Childcare Alliance (ACA) and parent advocacy group The Parenthood have spoken publicly about the value of the KPMG findings, which have been praised for offering “a simple blueprint for kickstarting the Australian economy and increasing economic security and educational opportunities for Australian families”.
“We welcome these sensible evidence-based recommendations, that aim to build on the current system to better meet the immediate needs of Australian working families, especially those doing it tough,” ACA President Paul Mondo said.
His position was supported by ELACCA CEO Elizabeth Death who said “we see real merit in the KPMG proposal to lift the Child Care Subsidy (CCS) rate to 95 per cent for low income households, with the subsidy tapering down to a new higher minimum of 30 per cent for high-income families.”
The second option proposed in the KPMG report proposes a carefully targeted change to the CCS, which would generate “an extraordinary dividend for the national economy” by offering a GDP boost that would exceed the additional federal spending by more than 110 per cent, through an increase to parental workforce participation (according to KPMG’s modelling).
This recommendation, The Parenthood Executive Director Georgie Dent said, is one which has the potential to deliver “billions in economic benefits, creating good jobs in the female-dominated childcare sector and improving both the lives of women and family budgets.”
“This opportunity needs to be seized by the Federal government because without decisive intervention and investment women’s progress over the past three decades could be at risk,” she added.
Prior to the pandemic, Ms Dent continued, Australian women were in a precarious position owing to “instability and insecurity of their employment over the course of their lives” being underpinned by “a lack of infrastructure like paid parental leave and workplaces that value workers’ responsibilities outside of the home”.
Mr Mondo reinforced ACA’s long-standing position of seeking to improve ECEC affordability for families in the most efficient way possible for taxpayers.
“We can improve the CCS system, using existing infrastructure and giving families the freedom to choose the service that best suits their need” he added.
Benefits for children
Under the current system, Ms Death said, many children are potentially missing out on early learning because the subsidy system deters some families from enrolling their children, or from increasing their early learning days over time.
Referencing the first recommendation of the report, ECA CEO Samantha Page said that increasing CCS to 95 per cent would provide universal access to affordable ECEC for every child, regardless of household income or parental activity, going some way to address the issue of 20 per cent of the nations children arriving at school with one or more developmental vulnerabilities.
This issue, Ms Page said, is likely to be compounded by flow-on effects from the COVID-19 pandemic, which has meant many children have experienced disruptions to their learning.
To read the KPMG report in full, please see here.