Australian Childcare Alliance calls for equitable, affordable access to ECEC as the 2022 federal election approaches

Australian Childcare Alliance calls for equitable, affordable access to ECEC as the 2022 federal election approaches

by Jason Roberts

April 22, 2022

Leading early childhood education and care (ECEC) peak body, the Australian Childcare Alliance (ACA) has called for all political candidates to recognise the need for high-quality, well-resourced, affordable early learning services Australia-wide as the 2022 Election approaches. 

 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has pulled the curtain back on the essential role the early learning sector plays in supporting the recovery and growth of our economy while allowing all working parents – emergency and healthcare workers amongst them – to continue in the workforce,” said ACA President Paul Mondo.

 

“Developmentally, the benefits to our children are also clear – children who enjoy quality early learning are likely to be well socialised, confident, inquisitive about the world, accepting of diversity, resilient to manage challenges and also to be life-long learners.”

 

“However universal accessibility will be under threat without major national policy reform.”

 

Numerous challenges face ECEC sector and require action 

 

The early learning sector has reached a point of crisis when it comes to workforce, the ACA said, noting that service providers are struggling to find sufficient educators to meet the regulatory requirements for the child-educator ratios that current demand levels require. 

 

“Resolving our national workforce crisis must be an economic priority – without educators, long day childcare services must reduce their places, forcing mostly mothers out of the workplace,” Mr Mondo said. 

 

“We need to ensure that all families – including those with only one child in early learning and those with special needs – have ongoing, equitable and affordable access to world class early learning (childcare).” 

 

“No child should be allowed to fall through the cracks.”

 

“The long day care sector is pivotal to the recovery and growth of our economy. We enable all working parents – emergency and healthcare workers amongst them – to continue in the workforce.

 

Three key areas of focus prioritised by the ACA

 

The Australian Childcare Alliance (ACA) noted that they would like to see the next Australian Government prioritise the following three recommendations:

 

  1. Increase ECEC affordability for all families
  2. End the educator shortage crisis
  3. Improve support for children with disability

 

“Without a sustainable, affordable early learning (childcare) sector, the economy falters and women are the first to be forced out of their jobs, to stay home and care for otherwise well children,” Mr Mondo said.

 

“By engaging with key political stakeholders from all political parties, we can ensure that our incoming Australian Government and Members of Parliament recognise that a strong and sustainable early learning sector is critical to the economic health of this nation, as well as the wellbeing of our youngest generation.

 

With the right policy and financial frameworks in place Australia can have every child access high quality, affordable and sustainable early learning services.

 

“We look forward to working with the incoming Australian Government to ensure that every child in Australia – regardless of their family background, residential location or personal learning needs – has the best start in life,” Mr Mondo concluded. 

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