6 July 2023
The Early Learning and Care Council of Australia (ELACCA) welcomes the Australian Government’s Cheaper Childcare investment, coming into effect from 10 July.
ELACCA CEO Elizabeth Death said increasing access and affordability to quality early learning and care, sets children up for a life of learning and achievement. It also enables families to return to, or increase participation in, the workforce.
ELACCA members are reporting a reduction in out-of-pocket costs for the vast majority of families currently attending their services. A number of our members estimate that more than 90% of families will be better off thanks to the Australian Government’s Cheaper Childcare reforms.
However, the Child Care Subsidy (CCS) increases are also expected to drive increased demand for new enrolments and additional days. This will place pressure on the early learning workforce that is already experiencing significant workforce shortages, resulting in capped rooms and delayed enrolments.
ELACCA CEO Elizabeth Death said ELACCA members – which represent just over a quarter of the sector – reported almost 5,000 unfilled vacancies within their workforce, hindering the sector’s ability to provide as many children as possible with access to high-quality early learning and care.
Urgent action is needed to attract, retain and attract back a qualified early childhood workforce.
“The significant additional investment into the childcare subsidy by the Australian Government is welcome news for Australian families and has the potential to extend the invaluable benefits of quality early childhood education to more children.
“But we can only do this if we are able to attract and retain our quality workforce with a much-needed uplift of wages across the sector.
“By investing in our workforce, we can better meet an increased demand for early learning services. Every child deserves the opportunity to achieve their potential during the crucial early years before school when 90% of brain development occurs.
“Early learning educators are qualified professionals that are setting Australian children up with foundational skills for life. Sadly, every educator vacancy will affect up to 15 families whose children will miss out as they juggle work and caring responsibilities.
“We call upon the Government to partner with us in ensuring remuneration for our early learning professionals, aligning their wages with those in the schooling system.”
ELACCA urges Government to partner with the sector to fund an increase in wages and conditions, extending beyond long-day care to encompass early childhood educators and teachers, across the early learning sector.
“This collaborative effort will recognise our qualified early learning workforce, enabling us to continue to provide quality education and care to more children.”
Labour costs are one of the most significant cost drivers for providers of quality early learning and care.
We also need Federal support to tap overseas markets for qualified educators and teachers to help close the immediate shortage. Priority migration initiatives are required, such as an Industry Labour Agreement, similar to the recently developed Aged Care Agreement.
For more information please contact:
Early Learning and Care Council of Australia (ELACCA)
PO Box 348
Annandale NSW 2038
Mob: 0498 228 762
The Early Learning and Care Council of Australia (ELACCA) was established to promote the value of quality early learning and care as an integral part of Australia’s education system.
Our 19 CEO members include some of the largest early learning providers in the country, representing both not-for-profit and for-profit services. ELACCA members operate 1,984 long day care services, 310 preschool/kindergarten services and 92 OSHC services, covering every state and territory. They offer one-quarter of all the long day care places in Australia. Together, our members serve 369,776 children and their families, and employ more than 56,708 staff.
As well as promoting the value of quality early learning and the need for greater public investment, ELACCA advocates for the right of all children to access quality early learning and care, particularly children facing disadvantage. We do this by drawing on the knowledge and practical experience of our members and representing their views to decision makers in government, the media and the public.