ELAA comments on National Strategy draft
The Sector > Workforce > Advocacy > ELAA comments on Draft National Strategy for the Care and Support Economy

ELAA comments on Draft National Strategy for the Care and Support Economy

by Freya Lucas

May 31, 2023

The Early Learning Association Australia (ELAA) has commented on the launch of a Draft National Strategy for the Care and Support Economy, describing it as “a key step forward” to understanding what works to attract and keep workers across the care sector, including early childhood education and care (ECEC) workers. 


“We know that in ECEC we rely on migrants, especially for our casual labour pool that dried up during COVID,” ELAA’s acting CEO Megan O’Connell said. 


“Migration and career pathways are part of the solution and so are real and fair wages for care workers. ELAA looks forward to the co-funding of ECEC worker wage increases by the Australian Government.”   


The Draft Strategy acknowledges that the care sector, including aged care, disability, veteran’s care and ECEC are all part of our social infrastructure and starts the national conversation about Australians’ vision for our care and support system. 


Another crucial initiative contained in the Draft Strategy is the Pricing and Market Design Action Plan. This, Ms O’Connell said, is about ensuring that quality providers are supported to grow, and that solutions are in place “for where the market isn’t working”.


“In the case of ECEC we have to especially focus on regions where we have what has become known as ‘childcare deserts’,” Ms O’Connell said. 


“We also need to look at the phenomenon of ECEC ‘service flooding’…where un-managed growth of ECEC services in areas already served by quality providers is leading to worker shortages and at times prompting the decline of existing services in those areas.”


“We welcome a more active government role in growing the provision of high-quality ECEC services and the Draft Strategy will greatly contribute to this. The community not-for-profit sector is known for its high-quality providers but without an active hand to manage the market, without access to reserves and capital, the not-for-profit early childhood sector will struggle to sustain itself, let alone grow,” she added.


“The care and support economy matters for gender equality, socio-economic equality, poverty reduction, inclusive growth, and sustainable development.  ELAA will continue to advocate for government intervention to secure well paid jobs across the ECEC sector and to grow the role of high-quality community early childhood education and care providers.”


The Australian Government is calling for submissions and comments on its Draft Strategy. Have your say here. 

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