27 February 2015 | General Interest
National children’s peak body Early Childhood Australia (ECA) says the Productivity Commission Final Report into Child Care and Early Childhood Learning provides a comprehensive review of the current system, and underlines the need for reforms to make child care more “flexible, affordable and accessible.”
However, ECA believes the report doesn’t establish a clear enough vision for children and families that would serve as a rationale for reforms and future investment.
The peak body argues Australia is under-invested in early childhood education and as a result there are children starting school who have missed out on quality early learning, and we have relatively low rates of workforce participation amongst women with young children.
“In response to this report we will be seeking to work with Government to identify system improvements that will deliver tangible outcomes for children and families. This includes the development of a new early childhood funding system that improves access to quality early childhood education and care for all children,” ECA CEO Samantha Page said.
“There is a strong case for further investment in early childhood education and care in Australia, and building a system that is easier to navigate and affordable for all families.”
ECA welcomed the Government and Opposition’s statements supporting a bipartisan discussion on reforms to the early childhood education and care system following release of the Productivity Commission report.
In particular, Ms Page said ECA welcomed Social Services Minister Scott Morrison’s consultative and collegiate approach.
“If we are going to embed lasting and genuine reform and investment in early childhood education and care, the fundamentals of the system must have bipartisan support,” Ms Page said.
“In particular we call on all sides of the political spectrum to consider how further investment will be funded to improve access to quality early childhood education for children and families.”