Federal Budget - What does it mean for ECEC?
The Sector > Policy > Politics > ECEC Federal Budget 2023 commitments focus on workforce development as sector awaits CCS changes

ECEC Federal Budget 2023 commitments focus on workforce development as sector awaits CCS changes

by Jason Roberts

May 10, 2023

Federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers has handed down the 2023/24 Federal Budget in which the early childhood education and care sector (ECEC) saw some additional workforce and accessibility related measures both of which are to be funded through child care subsidy (CCS) reform savings as opposed to additional funding allocations. 


In contrast to the last year’s Budget address Mr Charmer’s commentary regarding ECEC was far less evident, with much of the focus being directed at cost of living policies aimed at alleviating pricing and cost pressures for the broader electorate rather than the benefits and importance of early learning and the professionals who work within it.   


Towards the end of this year’s address Mr Chalmers did note that his Government was “investing $72.4 million to retain and recruit more early childhood educators” although there was no reference to the cost being borne through Child Care Subsidy Reform – additional integrity and Education – reprioritisation measures. 


That being said, it is important to note that 10 July 2023 will see the implementation of a series of substantial CCS changes at an additional initial cost of around $1.3 billion per year that will provide a boost for families of all economic means and mark the delivery of a key election promise for the Labor Government.  


Elsewhere, the Government has followed through on the Fair Work Commission’s ruling to increase aged care workers pay by 15 per cent with a funding mechanism that will see wages and entitlements increases funded via two new grant programs.


This could provide a “blueprint” for addressing the ongoing wage disparities evident in the ECEC sector. 


The key ECEC relevant highlights from the 2023 /24 Federal Budget are as follows:


Accessibility related measures:


  • The Government will provide $2.8 million over 4 years to streamline the delivery of the Additional Child Care Subsidy (ACCS) and expand the exceptional circumstances criteria that can be applied to applications to backdate ACCS (child wellbeing) by more than 28 days.


Integrity related measures: 


  • The Government will undertake additional payment integrity activities to safeguard the Child Care Subsidy program from fraud and non-compliance with $13.3 million over four years with  Services Australia receiving a further $5.3 million over 4 years to develop their digital forensics capability. Savings generated will be used to fund workforce and accessibility measures. 


Workforce professional learning related measures:


  • The Government will provide $34.4 million over 5 years to subsidise ECEC services to backfill up to 75,000 early childhood educators, early childhood teachers and centre directors to undertake mandatory or highly recommended training, or to pay an allowance to the educator if training is undertaken outside work hours


  • The Government will provide $33.1 million over 5 years to provide financial assistance for up to 6,000 educators in the ECEC sector to undertake a paid practicum in initial teacher education courses at a bachelor or postgraduate level


  • The Government will provide $4.8 million over 5 years to support up to 2,000 ECEC workers to undertake a practicum exchange at a different service, with a living allowance for students undertaking a practicum in a rural or remote location.


Boosting employment pathways related measures:


  • $15.2 million over two years from 2022–23 will be provided to support the establishment of the Y Careers Agency to provide young people with employment opportunities in the care economy, including the early childhood education and care, disability and aged care sectors.


Service premises support measures:


  • The Government will reprioritise unspent funding of $0.4 million in 2023–24 for an Early Learning Childcare Facilities Improvement Grant opportunity to provide funding to identified early learning centres and other community organisations to improve facilities.


Visit the Budget 2023/24 website to review documents and to read the Treasurer’s address to Parliament click here.

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