Federal Budget 2022 builds on trainee and apprentice subsidies, omits further ECEC affordability measures

Federal Budget 2022 builds on trainee and apprentice subsidies, omits further ECEC affordability measures

by Jason Roberts

March 29, 2022

Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has handed down the 2022 Budget in which new policy initiatives that are relevant to the early childhood education and care sector (ECEC) focus on workforce related support as opposed to affordability related support which was a key focus of last year’s Budget. 

 

Specifically, the Government has confirmed the extension of the Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements and Completing Apprenticeship Commencements wage subsidy programs for a further three months and also the creation of a new Australian Apprentices Incentives System which will replace. 

 

“From 1 July 2022, the Australian Apprenticeships Incentive System will provide broad support to the economy through wage subsidies for employers in priority occupations and hiring incentives for employers in non-priority occupations,” Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business Stuart Robert said. 

 

“Apprentices and trainees in priority occupations will also receive a generous direct payment of up to $5,000 over two years to assist with the cost of undertaking an apprenticeship.” 

 

The second phase will see a hiring incentive of up to $4,000 to be provided for employers in priority occupations, as well as a new Australian Apprentices Training Support Payment of up to $3,000 paid directly to apprentices in priority occupations.”

 

Elsewhere the Government confirmed two Community Child Care Fund measures designed to support flood affected services and also new centres development in regional and remote communities however, no additional measures targeting ECEC affordability were extended over and above those announced at last year’s budget last year. 

 

Mr Robert noted that record levels of child care funding was in place with $11.0 billion forecast to be spent in 2022-23, including $10.7 billion on the Child Care Subsidy alone.  

 

That being said, by focusing on workforce initiatives over affordability initiatives the Government is taking a quite different stance to the Australian Labor Party who have included ECEC affordability measures as a central plank in their Election 2022 policy list with a boost to CCS subsidy rates to 90 per cent on the table. 

 

The key ECEC relevant highlights from the 2022 Federal Budget are as follows:

 

Workforce measures: 

 

  • $365.3 million to extend the Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements and Completing Apprenticeship Commencements wage subsidies by 3 months to 30 June 2022, to further support employers taking on and retaining new apprentices

 

  • $954.0 million over 5 years from 2021-22 to introduce a new Australian Apprenticeships Incentive System from 1 July 2022, providing support to employers and apprentices in priority occupations

 

Community Childcare Fund (CCCF) measures:

 

  • $19.4 million over 5 years from 2021-22 to establish a new open grant round of the Community Child Care Fund to support the establishment of new child care services in rural, remote and regional areas where there is limited supply of current child care services

 

  • $22.1 million over 2 years from 2021-22 to increase the Community Child Care Fund, Special Circumstances grant to assist services experiencing financial viability issues resulting from the recent floods and the COVID-19 pandemic

 

To visit the Budget 2022 website to review documents please click here.

 

To read Mr Robert’s media releases please click here and here

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