ELACCA welcomes new co-chairs Kay Turner and Rob Hughes

Media release

23 January 2023

The Early Learning and Care Council of Australia (ELACCA) is delighted to announce the appointment of SDN Children’s Services CEO Kay Turner and Busy Bees Early Learning Australia CEO Rob Hughes as co-chairs of the national organisation.

“Ms Turner and Mr Hughes bring a wealth of experience in the sector, plus a real passion and enthusiasm to help us achieve our ambitions to make affordable, quality early learning accessible to all families,” ELACCA CEO Elizabeth Death said.

Both Ms Turner and Mr Hughes have been on the ELACCA Board for some time and understand the importance of quality early childhood education and care for all children.

Ms Turner said it was an honour to take on the co-chair role representing not-for-profit members.

“I’m looking forward to helping lead the Board, support the ELACCA CEO and champion the ECEC sector,” Ms Turner said.

Mr Hughes, who will represent for-profit organisations, said he was focused on strengthening the community of engaged teachers and educators.

“A strong workforce is essential to building a culture of care, respect, professionalism and innovation for children and families that will enable the delivery of a high quality, sustainable service,” Mr Hughes said.

Mr Hughes and Ms Turner highlighted the need for urgent government investment in the wages and conditions of the early years workforce who nurture the growth and development of Australia’s youngest learners. 

The co-chairs said they were committed to continuing the great work at ELACCA to lead exceptional early learning outcomes for Australian children, and aspire to:

  • progress the quality of early learning and care and outcomes for all children
  • enhance the development and professionalisation of the early learning workforce.
  • improve equity of access to early learning for all children.

Ms Death said she wanted to warmly welcome ELACCA’s newest members and sincerely thank outgoing members and co-chairs Jenni Hutchins and Gary Carroll for their invaluable work in the interests of children, their families and the economy, over the past four years.

ELACCA is pleased to welcome new CEOs to its membership:

  • Dr Ros Baxter, CEO Goodstart Early Learning
  • Daniel Findley, CEO Sparkways
  • Pejman Okhovat, CEO G8 Education
  • Michelle Colefax, CEO Communities at Work
  • Anna Learmonth, CEO Only About Children
  • Sue Shilbury, Director – Communities, Uniting NSW ACT

ELACCA, with sadness, also farewelled and thanked outgoing Board and CEO members:

  • Jenni Hutchins, CEO Big Fat Smile and ELACCA Co-chair not-for-profit
  • Gary Carroll, CEO G8 Education and ELACCA Co-chair for-profit
  • Julia Davison, CEO Goodstart Early Learning and ELACCA Board member
  • Lee Maiden, CEO Communities at Work
  • John Burns, CEO Only About Children
  • Rod Nadwie-Smith, Head of Early Learning, Uniting NSW ACT
  • Angela Forbes, CEO Sparkways.


For more information please contact:

Sally Maddison

Early Learning and Care Council of Australia

PO Box 348

Annandale NSW 2038

Mob: 0498 228 762

E: [email protected]


About us: 

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 20 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 1,997 long day care services, 321 preschool/kindergarten services and 69 OSHC services, covering every state and territory. They offer one-quarter of all the early learning places in Australia. Together, our members serve 336,000 children and their families, and employ more than 53,000 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.