ECEC sector peak bodies launch ambitious six-point plan ahead of Federal election
Early childhood education and care peak bodies Community Child Care Association (CCC), Community Early Learning Australia (CELA) and Early Learning Association Australia (ELAA) have joined forces to launch an ambitious reform plan for the sector which hinges on two fully funded days of education and care for every child in Australia.
CCC Executive Director Julie Price explained that the plan should serve as a blueprint for whichever party or parties secure power at the next election.
“Our plan delivers the most important and consequential reforms ever seen in the Australian education and care sector. It means every child has the same opportunities, regardless of what their family earns or where they live,” Ms Price shared.
The ‘6 Point Plan for Australia’s education and care sector’ proposes:
- Two days a week of funded early education and care for all children from birth to school
- A commitment to the inclusion of all children
- Mandatory National Quality Standard assessments and ratings at least every three years
- The creation of a national industrial instrument for the education and care sector to provide educators with fairer levels of pay
- A National Children’s Education and Care Workforce Strategy
- Properly funded infrastructure and sector support.
The reshaping of pay, conditions and quality standards to secure a higher quality workforce is integral to the success of the plan, the peak bodies assert.
“We know the sector is facing a major workforce crisis,” ELAA CEO David Worland said. “Low pay, high staff turnover and uneven access to high-quality training mean services struggle to find the quality staff needed by children and families,” which Mr Worland cautions will lead to immediate and generational missed opportunities.
CELA CEO Michele Carnegie noted that many families struggle to access the right care for their children because of significant government under-investment in education and care services.
“It’s a ‘double-whammy’ of poorer outcomes for children’s learning and higher costs of living pressures for families,” she explained.
As shown in recently released research from the Mitchell Institute, children from rural areas, and from disadvantaged households are facing even more challenges in accessing ECEC, and are more likely to start school behind their more advantaged city counterparts.
The 2022 Federal Election, the peak bodies believe, is an ideal time for Australian families to demand action and for politicians to commit to implementing solutions.
“We know what the problems and solutions are. Reviews and inquiries are not needed and just won’t cut it as an election pledge,” Ms Carnegie said. Her perspective was backed by Mr Worland, who called for bipartisan support of the plan.
“The education and care sector demands urgent attention from all parties and candidates between now and Election Day. Australia’s future literally depends on it.”
The Federal Election must be held on or before 21 May.
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