ELAA makes submission to Productivity Commission
The Sector > Workforce > Advocacy > ELAA makes submission to Productivity Commission asking for simplified systems

ELAA makes submission to Productivity Commission asking for simplified systems

by Freya Lucas

May 23, 2023

The Early Learning Association Australia (ELAA) has made a submission to the Australian Productivity Commission asking state and federal governments to prioritise access and participation by simplifying systems and supporting families to enrol in early childhood education and care (ECEC.) 


In part, the submission notes that, despite a wealth of ECEC service providers and funding models across Australia, not every child and family can access what they need to thrive. 


“Indeed,” ELAA Acting CEO Megan O’Connell said, “the current system is overly complex and difficult for families to navigate.”


“Our submission to the Productivity Commission includes recommendations spanning the next five years but three key activities are a priority over the next 12 months,” she added.


“Those three priorities are: enabling access to the Child Care Subsidy to kindergartens and preschools for hours of delivery outside of funded preschool programs to greatly increase the number of providers available in ‘childcare deserts’; removing the parental Activity Test that determines whether a child can access subsidised ECEC; and, co-investment in educator and teacher wages by state and federal governments.” 


The ELAA submission provides background and recommendations across four key areas including: 


Improving access and participation – through a more simplified funding regime, centralised enrolment, and equity funding that supports outreach, translators and co-located ECEC services providing support for vulnerable children and children with additional needs from the time of enrolment. 


Addressing thin markets – ensuring that services are available in all locations and operate the span of hours families need with a focus on areas with ‘childcare deserts’. Key initiatives such as extending access to Child Care Subsidy-funded hours to kindergartens and greater investment in service infrastructure are essential.


Targeting funding to drive outcomes – taking a lead from the current ACCC inquiry provides the opportunity for the government to examine and re-orient the funding model for ECEC providers to ensure that funding matches the cost of quality delivery. 


Lifting quality across the system – through market management (with New Zealand as a model); conducting regular and consistent reviews against the National Quality Standards; and, investing in workforce training and renumeration. 


“Research clearly demonstrates that children who consistently access quality early childhood education for two years perform better throughout school. We know that nearly half of the children that start school behind stay behind, and that they are less likely to complete year 12 and go on to further education and employment,” Ms O’Connell said. 


“Further, they are likely to suffer the ill effects of this throughout their lives through higher welfare payments, chronic disease, mental health issues, housing issues and are more likely to be incarcerated. 


“Equity comes at a cost and we encourage the Productivity Commission to be ambitious in its recommendations. If more children can start school developmentally ready, they are more likely to reach major education milestones and transition to work and contribute economically. This has a flow on effect on future generations.”  


To view ELAA’s full submission to the Productivity Commission, please see here.

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