educator and child sitting at table

Media release: Federal budget a missed opportunity to ease cost of living through accessible children’s education and care

Last night’s federal budget provided little new support to the education and care sector.

Education and care peak bodies Community Child Care Association (CCC), Community Early Learning Australia (CELA) and Early Learning Association Australia (ELAA) expressed their disappointment that there were limited new measures in the budget, and that ECEC was not recognised as a key cost of living driver.

“The budget aims to temporarily address the rising cost of living, but does not include new measures that address a key pain point for Australian families - the cost of education and care” said David Worland ELAA CEO.

The announcement of $19.4 million over five years as part of the Community Child Care Fund designed to create new services, was welcomed as a modest start to supporting all families to have access to quality education and care. 

“The community sector plays a key role in educating children in rural and remote areas. We’re pleased that there’s a recognition that more centres are needed, however the announcement falls short of what is required. We need to see this ramped up across Australia with a planned approach to meeting the needs of families” said Michele Carnegie, CELA CEO.

The three peak bodies welcomed the measures that will support the workforce, including the extension of the Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements and Completing Apprenticeship Commencements and the new, lower rate Australian Apprenticeships Incentive System, but warned that further action is needed. “Continued funding for traineeships is great, but we also need to focus on what it takes to keep educators and teachers in the workforce.” said Julie Price CCC Executive Director. “There are significant workforce shortages in our sector and this means many families cannot access education and care when they need it.”

The three peak bodies released an ambitious 6 Point Plan last week, to demand action from parties to commit to implementing solutions for the sector. 

The ‘6 Point Plan for Australia’s education and care sector’ proposes:

  1. Two days a week of funded early education and care for all children from birth to school
  2. A commitment to the inclusion of all children
  3. Mandatory National Quality Standard assessments and ratings at least every three years
  4. The creation of a national industrial instrument for the education and care sector to provide educators with fairer levels of pay
  5. A National Children’s Education & Care Workforce Strategy
  6. Properly funded infrastructure and governance support.

View the 6 Point Plan.