Budget announcements a hot topic at ACA Qld conference
The Sector > Quality > Professional development > Budget announcements a hot topic at ACA Qld conference

Budget announcements a hot topic at ACA Qld conference

by Freya Lucas

June 17, 2024

The 2024/25 Budget announcements were topics of conversation at the recent Australian Childcare Alliance Queensland (ACA Qld) National Conference which was held at The Star on the Gold Coast. 


More than 2000 delegates from across Queensland, and some from interstate, converged at the luxurious venue, reflecting on the 2024 theme See the Wonders of Early Education, encouraging delegates to consider the many facets of the sector.


The Department of Early Childhood Education and Care expanded on the Government’s budget announcements at the conference, committing $3.3 million in 2024–25 to continue to enhance regulation in ECEC services, ACA Qld President Majella Fitzsimmons said. 


The purpose of this funding is to reduce the timeline of Assessment and Rating from 5 years to 3- 4 years. This supports a streamlined approach across the state and ensures regulatory consistency in all early learning centres.


“This year, there’s a big focus at the conference on wellbeing. It’s all about how you can better educate and enrich (children) and how we can better support young educators to stay and thrive in our industry (sic.),” Ms Fitzsimmons said.


“The conference is all about nurturing and building the capacity of our early childhood education service owners, directors, leaders and educators by offering them the latest research and developments in the sector. It also gives service owners a chance to meet different early education providers and hear about what they do.”


Ms Fitzsimmons was candid about the complex array of challenges currently faced by ECEC, saying educator attrition is more than 40 per cent in regional, rural, and remote areas, and many areas are unable to retain their early childhood teachers. 


Despite these complexities, she noted the “many positive developments” in the sector of late, welcoming the commitment shown at state and federal level to support children. 


“We welcome the $502 million commitment to the Putting Queensland Kids First Plan. It’s a positive investment for a very important cohort of people aged under five years old.”


“We are also thrilled to see the budget commitment to continuing and expanding on the successful Free Kindy program.”


Support for educators was also commented on favourably, with Ms Fitzsimmons saying “equipping the early childhood workforce with the knowledge and capacity to support healthy children is vital and we applaud the allocated $56 million over four years for early interventions and support for children under five years old in priority locations. This is paramount for the sector and has been core in our advocacy and policy documents.”

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