Childcare Leadership Alliance launches
The Sector > Workforce > Advocacy > Childcare Leadership Alliance launches to support planning and innovation in regional areas

Childcare Leadership Alliance launches to support planning and innovation in regional areas

by Freya Lucas

May 02, 2023

The early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector in Australia is a complex space, made all the more complex when challenges of distance and availability are added in, as is often the case in regional Australia.


To support, the Childcare Leadership Alliance (CLA) a cohort of volunteers, employers, early childhood consultants and early years providers – has been formed to address the childcare challenges unique to regional communities. The Alliance will first focus on a pilot of strategies to support ECEC availability in Moranbah and Dysart in central Queensland.


The CLA is supported by BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA), the largest employer in the region, with a volunteer Board comprising representatives from the Isaac Regional Council, local business, the early learning sector and BMA, operating in consultation with Astute Early Years Specialists.


Launch events were held in Dysart on Tuesday 18 April, and Moranbah on Wednesday 19 April, with audiences of local business leaders, ECEC professionals, council and government representatives.


Astute Early Years Specialists Director Melissa Comerford led a discussion panel, composed of CEOs and directors of local ECEC services, along with school principals who are “witness to the effects of the lack of accessibility of early learning on children and families”. 


The panel discussion detailed the CLA’s year one strategies to target key areas of attraction, recruitment and retention of educators, as well as funding programs and professional development for sector employees.


“We know that high-quality early learning Is important for our children,” Ms Comerford said. 


“We know it’s also important for the community. We need strong community support and collaboration because those two focuses bring in so many other things that we need to talk about.”


Speaking from an employer perspective, BMA’s Broadmeadow Mine General Manager Michael Thomas said a lack of ECEC options was “a major issue” for the communities BMA operates in. 


“We want to ensure all of the community can be meaningfully employed and shortages in childcare (sic.) are proving to be a barrier to employment for many.”


The key to the provision of quality early learning services, the CLA have identified, is having skilled workers in sufficient numbers to staff the sector, particularly in regional communities where it is “even harder” to attract and retain early childhood teachers and educators. 


Challenges to attracting and retaining sufficient staff in regional areas include: 


  • Lack of affordable and sustainable housing 
  • Isolation 
  • Cost of living 
  • Lack of sector specific professional development and resources
  • Insufficient leadership programs.


The CLA plans to implement the following strategies to address the concerns: 


  • Consistent and equitable program to secure accommodation for childcare staff
  • Establishing a local rewards program linking educators to local businesses to access offers and assist with the cost of everyday expenses
  • Campaigning government for wage subsidies for the ECEC sector, with extra support for those in rural locations
  • Attraction campaigns for local and international Visa sponsored educators to bolster workforce
  • Building a focused program to support job candidates to be ‘work ready’ including support for adjustment to regional living
  • Campaigning government to reduce the barriers to migration for qualified educators and teachers
  • Developing a funding program to support both the long-term viability of the CLA and funding models for regional centres


The CLA will also be releasing a range of professional development opportunities throughout the year, including events, training programs, mentorship, and networking events. These will be designed to empower and support early childhood educators in their current and future roles with content tailored to the unique complexities of working in ECEC in a regional area. 

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