ACA comments on new report, calls for co-design
The Sector > Workforce > Advocacy > ACA comments on ACCC report, calling for co-designed solutions to outlined issues

ACA comments on ACCC report, calling for co-designed solutions to outlined issues

by Freya Lucas

October 02, 2023

The Australian Childcare Alliance (ACA) has commented on the draft recommendations made by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), calling for co-designed policies to address identified issues in the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector.


The ACCC recently made a series of recommendations in its interim report, which follows a comprehensive inquiry into the ECEC sector, also identifying a number of core issues which have alignment with ACA identified concerns, including: 


– Staffing is a significant issue on quality and viability

– Services are only viable with reasonable levels of occupancy

– Increased competition does not reduce prices in oversupplied markets


The ACA has previously addressed what it terms “the failings of the activity test” in relation to the Child Care Subsidy (CCS) and has called for a daily rate cap instead of the current hourly cap model. The ACCC interim report has included a draft recommendation supporting this, as it concluded the activity test needed to be removed or reconfigured.


ACA President Paul Mondo said the CCS was “overly complex” and was “failing families and Government” as well as impacting lower income families disproportionately.


“The findings reinforce that any policy settings made in isolation are likely to lead to unintended consequences,” he said.


“A focus must be on how we can drive accessibility and affordability for all families, whilst building a strong workforce of highly skilled early childhood educators and teachers. This cannot come at an increased cost to families.”


The ACCC interim report found that parents usually chose ECEC providers based on quality of care over price. The report found that services with higher labour costs had higher quality ratings meaning that any decisions that push down price must be balanced with how those decisions will impact quality.


In relation to wages, ACA welcomed last week’s decision from the Fair Work Commission, made possible under new provisions in the Fair Work Act, for the government to join sector employers and unions in tripartite negotiations on pay and conditions. 


“We look forward to working with the Australian Government on implementing these important policies whilst not losing sight of the critical need to provide additional educator attraction & retention initiatives in the months ahead,” Mr Mondo concluded.


“We look forward to working with the Government in relation to the ACCC findings and those of the Productivity Commission later this year to ensure that we have a funding system that ensures affordable and accessible early learning for all Australian children, for our workforce to be appropriately remunerated and for services to remain viable.”

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