NSW Government ECEC sector review kicks off with issues paper
The Sector > Policy > Examples > NSW kicks off ECEC sector review with Issues Paper release and call for feedback

NSW kicks off ECEC sector review with Issues Paper release and call for feedback

by Jason Roberts

April 18, 2023
NSW teacher teaching preschool children

The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART), the body commissioned by the New South Wales Government to conduct a review of the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector, has released an Issues Paper and a call for community feedback.


In June 2022, the NSW Government announced the Early Years Commitment, a $15.9 billion investment over 10 years in the NSW ECEC sector. This reform plan will change and deepen the Government’s relationships and responsibilities in the ECEC sector. 


NSW anticipates that it will grow beyond its present responsibilities of preschool funding and ECEC regulation into funding and shaping outcomes across more ECEC service types.


To ensure the reforms and investment result in improved outcomes for children and families and to inform its stewardship of the sector, the NSW Government seeks more information about affordability, accessibility and consumer choice across different child and family groups, geographies, service types and provider types. 


This includes more information about supply shortages and barriers to affordability and accessibility and as such has catalysed the appointment of IPART to help. 


IPART appointed to gather information to support Government policy making


IPART will be reviewing the ECEC sector to look at improvements that could be made through NSW state government initiatives and investment.


“We want to help ensure improved affordability, accessibility and consumer choice as a result of NSW state government investment,” said IPART Chair Carmel Donnelly.


The IPART review Terms of Reference highlights four key areas of focus:


1. Review the market for ECEC in NSW and report on factors which drive supply of services and affordability, accessibility and consumer choice

2. Collect current fee, household out of pocket costs and provider revenue and cost information

3. Estimate benchmark prices that can be used as a standard to measure and compare ECEC fees

4. Recommend ways for the NSW Government to improve ECEC affordability, accessibility and consumer choice relevant to the scope of these Terms of Reference.


IPART will not develop, investigate or recommend price regulation or price setting mechanisms as part of this review. 


Issues paper released to solicit feedback from community and sector stakeholders 


IPART has now released an issue paper which provides a short overview summarising key issues it is looking to explore and a set of questions which it is hoping to receive feedback on from stakeholders across the sector. 


Specifically, the introduction to the issues paper notes that “whether you are a family, provider or worker, we want to hear any concerns you have about the accessibility, affordability and/or level of choice in the sector that you think we should also be looking at, and how these areas could be improved.”


In addition it notes that the questions focus on the following areas:


  • access to and choice of services and how they can be improved
  • service affordability and how it can be improved
  • service supply and how it can be improved
  • provider costs and revenue in delivering services


Some example questions include:


1. What does affordable and value-for-money early childhood education and care mean to you and what would make it more affordable for families?

2. How do you think we should measure whether the supply of early childhood services in an area is adequate?

3. What factors other than cost, demand and workforce, can impact a provider’s decision to establish or expand an early childhood service?

4. How have workforce issues affected early childhood service providers and/or workers and what could be done to help this?

5. What types of costs or circumstances are most challenging for providers in delivering quality early childhood services?


For the complete set of questions please review the issues paper here or go directly to the IPART’s website to commence the survey


There will be further opportunities to provide feedback throughout the review. Online public hearings will be held on 15 and 16 May 2023 and an Interim Report published in August 2023.

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