Access for every child: Coalition launches for regional ECEC
The Sector > Workforce > Advocacy > Access for Every Child Coalition launches, calling for better regional ECEC access

Access for Every Child Coalition launches, calling for better regional ECEC access

by Freya Lucas

May 30, 2024

The Access for Every Child Coalition launched recently, calling for families in rural and regional Australia to have the same access to early childhood education and care as their city counterparts.


Composed of more than 50 organisations, the Coalition is calling on the Federal Government to create bespoke options so families can overcome one of the biggest barriers to workforce participation, a lack of early childhood education and care (ECEC).


“The juggle of raising a family and running a farm business is tricky at the best of times. Add into the equation limited or even no childcare options, and farming families are really left behind,” Tony Mahar, Chief Executive of Coalition member the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) said.


The NFF joined the coalition following NFF members endorsing an ECEC policy earlier this month.


“Childcare (sic.) services in the regions are waning and, in some cases, they are non-existent, at a time when demand is growing and the agricultural sector is crying out for workers,” Mr Mahar said.


Better access to care could boost farm productivity and improve developmental, social and academic outcomes for regional children, Mr Mahar said, describing ECEC as being essential to overcome this hurdle for women, who commonly bear the care burden.


“A key plank in the NFF’s vision for Australian agriculture to be a $100 billion industry by 2030 includes a goal to double the number of women in agriculture’s leadership positions,” he said.


“We’re proud to have a growing number of women employed in agriculture and women in leadership roles, but we need to support this trajectory through the child rearing years.”


“The Federal Government has made a commitment to a universal early education system and we need to hold the government to account, because right now, bush families are being left behind.”


The NFF’s policy calls on the Federal Government to:


  • Work more closely with the states and territories to manage, monitor, regulate, intervene in and shape the early childhood education and care (ECEC) system.
  • Offer a mix of options in partnership with the states and territories to better incentivise service provision in regional, rural and remote areas.
  • Develop a workforce strategy tailored to the regions to attract and retain the early childhood workforce. Initiatives could include wage subsidies, professional development, relocation incentives, and professional support and training.
  • Advance more flexible policy options and market interventions for family day-care, in-home care and other care options in locations where a centre would not be viable.


To view the NFF’s Early Childhood Education and Care policy click here. To view the Access for Every Child Coalition’s joint statement click here.

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