Early Childhood Australia Press Release

Early years the missing piece in Federal Budget

14 May 2013

Early Childhood Australia applauds the Government’s big picture reforms including DisabilityCare and the National Plan for School Improvement in this years Federal Budget but is disappointed with the lack of investment in the early years.

“A significant and sustained investment in early childhood education and care is necessary to achieve Australia’s aspirations for providing every child with the best possible start” said ECA CEO Samantha Page.

“The Government has recognised that long term improvement in school education and disability services warrant proper funding, but continues to fund early childhood in a piece meal way”.

This Federal Budget has failed to deliver the investment needed to properly support the Early Childhood National Quality Reform Agenda and does nothing to help families struggling with the cost of early childhood education and care.

“One of the biggest priorities for improving quality in early childhood services is the need to address inadequate wage rates for educators.  The Government’s National Quality Fund of $300M is a step in the right direction but it will reach less than half of the educators working in the sector raising ethical and practical dilemmas for employers”.

“We are also disappointed that the government has not streamlined the Child Care Benefit and Child Care Rebate The complexity of these payments confuses parents and limits their ability to make informed decisions about working hours and education and care options”. These payments also need to be properly indexed to keep pace with rising costs influenced by CPI and minimum wage increases.

“ECA welcomes the continuation of the National Partnership Agreement on Early Childhood Education (NP ECE), however we are not living up to this in practical terms.”

“Australia ranks 34 out of 38 economically developed countries on early childhood education and care.  One in five Australian children start school developmentally vulnerable –even more shocking is that Indigenous children are twice as likely to be developmentally vulnerable”.

In order for more Australian children to be attending quality early learning programs l we need the government to assist those families that are facing preschool and childcare fees beyond their reach”.

We also need a long term funding arrangement for services working with vulnerable populations including the multi-purpose Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander centres, mobile preschools and integrated services providing family support.

For more information contact: Bonnie Montgomery, 0467 055 932 or visit the website

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