26 September 2022
SNAICC – National Voice for Our Children welcomes today’s announcement by the Federal Government extending the hours of subsidised early education and care available to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families.
Under the reforms, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are able to access 36 hours of subsidised childcare a fortnight from July 2023, an increase of 12 hours a fortnight.
SNAICC CEO Catherine Liddle said the reforms were a step in the right direction but more needed to be done to improve outcomes for children.
“SNAICC has long advocated for removal of the childcare activity test to increase access for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children to culturally appropriate education and care.
“We have to turn around the widening gap in school readiness. We know the only way to do that is to get rid of the activity test and increase access to community-controlled services. The evidence shows that a minimum 30 hours access a week can make a huge difference.
“The childcare activity test results in vulnerable children receiving less care. Many receive no care at all, with parents that don’t meet the minimum threshold for the activity test often not engaging with the system.
“Add with the prevalence of childcare deserts in regional and remote areas with high Aboriginal populations, and it’s not surprising we are seeing less Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children assessed as being developmentally ready for school.”
Ms Liddle said experience during COVID when the activity test was suspended showed childcare usage by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families increased, with the number of children in childcare increasing by 12 per cent.
“Removing the activity test would ensure every Australian child benefits from a quality early childhood education regardless of their parents’ activity.
“Today’s announcement is progress towards that goal and SNAICC will keep working with Federal, State and Territory governments to make sure children get the services and supports they need to thrive.”
Media Contact: Mandy Taylor, 0414 634 159