Early childhood on the agenda at the ICPA conference last month
Early childhood discussions were front of mind for many at the Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association (ICPA) conference at Cunnamulla, Queensland, last month.
The conference passed two motions from the local branch, the first being to lobby the Queensland Government and local councils to continue to prioritise the re-establishment of early childhood programs in recognised highly vulnerable rural and remote locations.
The second asked ICPA Queensland to continue to lobby for increased training opportunities and employment incentives in order to enable local childcare providers in rural and remote regions to attract and retain staff members, to subsequently increase capacity for children to attend.
Reporting on the conference local publication Queensland Country Life outlined the challenges of Cunnamulla’s only early childhood education and care provider which has 30 names on a waiting list, many of them children of professionals unable to perform their work in essential services due to the lack of available childcare.
While there is physical space to accommodate the extra children, branch member Amy Palmer explained, the staffing issues meant expansion was not possible. Rental shortages in the town, she continued, were contributing to the issue.
Ms Palmer said results from the Australian Early Development Census since 2009 showed Cunnamulla was one of five locations “going backwards”
“The early childhood education and care department has been active in Cunnamulla since July last year and no significant action or change has occurred,” she said.
With a baby boom of 100 children under the age of eight in the region, the need for the service “is not going to go away.”
To access the original coverage of this story, please see here.