ACA NSW raises concerns at WWCC renewal delays at time of protracted workforce shortages
The Australian Childcare Alliance’s New South Wales (ACA NSW) branch has raised concerns that a new requirement on Working With Children Check applications imposed by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) is causing severe delays in approval processes of up to seven weeks.
The NSW Office of Children’s Guardian is responsible for issuing WWCC and as part of its documentation requirements has commenced requesting the following from applicants as part of their checks regardless if there has been a name change since the last WWCC issuance or not:
- a change of name certificate issued by Australian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages.
- an Australian marriage certificate issued by a state or territory (church or celebrant-issued certificates are not accepted).
- a Deed Poll.
If these items are not available to the applicant then they are encouraged to seek replacements from issuing authorities which are causing material delays.
Chiang Lim, CEO of ACA NSW said, “The early childhood education and care sector is already experiencing severe labour shortages, and these changes create more delays and further exacerbate the availability of such skilled labour, not to mention the potential disruption to the lives of children and their parents.”
“While the need for accurate identification of individuals is understandable, especially to ensure the safety of children, the unintended consequences of this new policy is disproportionately impacting our sector as 97% of educators and teachers and over 70% of Approved Providers are female and the additional documentation requirements are targeted at females.”
The Australian Childcare Alliance (ACA) NSW has formally asked the NSW Office of the Children’s Guardian to consider providing at least provisional approval for the renewals of the existing WWCCs subject to receiving additional identification documents within a reasonable time.
ACA NSW has also requested that an appropriate education campaign be provided to the early childhood education and care sector so that providers, educators and teachers can be better prepared in anticipation of their renewal of their WWCCs.