ELAA’s submission on the draft National Strategy identifies the unique complexities associated with the ECEC sector and how these compare with other care and support sectors. This includes specific recommendations highlighting how the ECEC sector contributes to the care and support economy and how this can be improved.
All recommendations focus on an ECEC perspective but are applicable to other care and support sectors. Below is a summary of ELAA’s recommendations to the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s draft National Strategy for the Care and Support Economy:
manage the market by examining the New Zealand approach and limiting the capacity of services and providers to grow unless they meet or exceed the National Quality Standards
- ensure services that do not meet the National Quality Standards (NQS) are rated annually, and all other services every three years, further strengthening the consistency and regularity of rating against the NQS
- avoid compromising on quality and qualification when addressing workforce shortages
- that the draft National Strategy for the Care and Support Economy advocates for an increase in wages and conditions for the ECEC workforce
- to acknowledge the important role that upskilling the workforce has on worker retention
- streamline the process of visa applications, reducing double handling and making applications accessible for more migrant workers
- for the National Strategy for the Care and Support Economy to actively encourage the implementation of menstruation, perimenopause, and menopause wellbeing policies
- for there to be practical working arrangements such as increased access to toilet breaks during menstruation, for Care and Support workers who often work in roles that limit their ability to access female hygiene products.
To read ELAA’s submission, please CLICK HERE.
ELAA made a submission to Infrastructure Victoria’s 30-year Strategy.
We wrote to provide insight into the unique infrastructure needs of the Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) sector. The submission was informed by over 35 years of Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) and Road Safety Education experience in ECEC and addressed the safety components that come with developing Victoria’s infrastructure.
ELAA’s recommendations included:
- managing the market and supporting the community sector to develop and grow through infrastructure investment, including funding innovative solutions to drive growth
- investing in sector development by funding co-located ECEC services, especially in low socio-economic, rural and regional communities
- funding transportation for families in rural and remote areas
- for there to be investment in building affordable housing options to enable educators to fill job vacancies in regional Victoria
- to address the pressures that Airbnb and the Commonwealth Games place on Victorian residents and housing/rental prices
- that a revised design guide for Children’s Services be developed and include reference to the items listed above including siting, and internal and external design issues.
To read the full submission please CLICK HERE.
“Future generations will thank the Productivity Commission if it ‘gets it right’ on early childhood”
All Australian children do not have equal access to early education.
Despite a wealth of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) service providers and funding models across Australia, not every child and family can access what they need to thrive. Indeed, the current system is overly complex and difficult for families to navigate.
In its submission to the Australian Productivity Commission, Early Learning Association Australia ( ELAA) has asked that the Government prioritise access and participation by simplifying systems and supporting families to enrol in ECEC.
CLICK HERE to download our Submission document.
A coherent national Early Years Strategy would establish the foundations to underpin children’s development across Australia. One in five children do not get what they need at present and start school behind their peers.
Our Submission to the Commonwealth Government lays out four key principles and four policy priority recommendations for the strategy which will serve as a roadmap to a shared understanding of what children and families in Australia need in the early years.
CLICK to read the full submission.
The Federal pre-budget submission outlines ELAA’s priorities for the consideration of the Albanese Government in the formulation of its budget for 2023-2024. Our three key policy priorities for ECEC are:
- The extension/removal of the activity test to ensure all children can access ECEC regardless of parental work status
- Investment into infrastructure to reduce child care deserts
- Funding fair wages to invest in the ECEC workforce.
The evidence on the value of children having access to high quality ECEC is clear. Australia will benefit from higher parental workforce participation, and importantly, improved school results leading to a smarter more innovative workforce which is able to compete internationally in the future.
The combined effect of these factors will also strengthen Australia’s economy and, longer-term, lead to a reduction in government expenditure.
Our recommendations are:
- Invest in the extension of the Activity Test to enable Australia’s most vulnerable families to enrol their children in quality Early Childhood Education and Care.
- Invest in infrastructure and workforce attraction in locations that have the lowest access to Early Childhood Education and Care
- Fund sessional kindergartens and preschools, particularly in small and remote communities, access to the federal government Child Care Subsidy to offer before and after session care.
- Co-fund wages to address the workforce crisis and ensure quality outcomes in not-for-profit ECEC.
- Fund not-for-profit peak bodies to ensure small employers can voluntarily engage in bargaining.
To read the full submission, please CLICK HERE.
ELAA made a submission to the Department of Home Affairs to make recommendations on how Australia’s migration system can be improved.
Our recommendations were:
- For there to be a priority skilled migration visa exclusively for the care sector. This must include Early
Childhood Teachers and Educators, aged care and disability workers and healthcare.
- Use positive messaging about the future of the care sectors pay improvement as an opportunity to
increase migrant worker outreach.
- Stabilise care sector jobs to improve security and well-being implications for migrant workers.
- Expand access to current migrant labour pool including by investing in subsidised training and
recognising prior learning for migrant workers to be skilled in Australian courses.
To read the full submission CLICK HERE.
ELAA has lodged a submission to the Employment Taskforce in Treasury on The Employment White Paper. The White Paper builds on the outcomes from the Jobs and Skills Summit and ELAA has provided feedback to the Taskforce on the Terms of Reference relevant to the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector. The Terms of Reference for the White Paper will be used as a “roadmap” for Australia to build a bigger, better trained and more productive workforce. The ECEC sector has an ongoing issue with its workforce. As a female dominated care sector, the challenges presented to ECEC are often non-comparable to other sectors, which is why ELAA used this opportunity to advocate for achievable solutions. These included:
- incentivising Australians, especially women, to return to the workforce through greater access to affordable and high-quality early childhood education and care
- tackling the problem of ‘childcare deserts’
- removing barriers to ECEC for First Nations families and other vulnerable parts of the community posed by the child care subsidy activity test
- ensuring sustainable numbers of ECEC qualified teachers and educators by addressing pay, conditions, and professional support.
To read our full submission, please CLICK HERE.
ELAA has submitted recommendations to the Education and Employment Legislation Committee on the Secure Jobs, Better Pay Bill 2022.
This Bill introduces a number of important changes for employees, employers and the way the Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) sector conducts bargaining agreements. With our sector leading expertise in industrial relations and bargaining, ELAA’s submission outlines the success of the Victorian Early Childhood Teachers and Educators Agreement (VECTEA), demonstrating that bargaining across multiple parties can occur and has been successful.
The recommendations ELAA made were:
- That you support the Bill and note the beneficial impact of multi-enterprise bargaining in early childhood education in Victoria; multi-enterprise bargaining in its current form has enabled exemplary outcomes for a historically low-paid early childhood education and care sector with co-funding by government as an essential element. ELAA welcomes this Bill, as it will significantly enhance the functionality and opportunities for multi-enterprise bargaining.
- That you continue to urge the Minister to consider funding not-for-profit peak bodies to ensure small employers can voluntarily engage in bargaining. This Bill will allow a higher proportion of ECEC employers within the sector to have their interests represented in negotiation.
- That you consider the benefits of the supported bargaining stream and the benefits in ensuring that the government as a key funder is included in bargaining negotiations. 4. That you note that the passage of the legislation alone will not lead to higher wages in ECEC. As the primary funder of ECEC, government co-funding is imperative to securing higher wages and better conditions to ensure families can have ongoing access to affordable, quality early childhood education and care. Given the growing workforce crisis, and brake on the economy caused by a lack of access to ECEC, it is imperative that the government invest in supporting wages and conditions commensurate with the school sector.
To read the full submission, please CLICK HERE.
The Federal Government introduced its Family Assistance Legislation Amendment (Cheaper Child Care) Bill 2022 to the House of Representatives with the aim of placing their pre-election commitments, outlined in Labor’s Plan for cheaper childcare, into law.
ELAA welcomes the generally positive outcomes from this bill, such as extending hours of care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children to 36 hours, regardless of their families’ capacity to meet the activity test. However, there is more that could be done. ELAA will always advocate for our vision of universal access to Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC), supported by a skilled and sustainable workforce.
Key recommendations made in our submission are:
- extend or remove the activity test for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families to include 30 hours per week, or 60 a fortnight – this will improve accessibility, interrupt intergenerational trauma, and encourage higher attendance
- increase the activity test result for low income, low activity families to support at least two days per week of early learning, ideally increasing to three days per week
- to extend staff discount policy to not only educators, but also cooks and administration staff in a service that are paid under the Children’s Services Award
- an increase in pay for educators and teachers to ensure a skilled workforce is available to meet the education and care needs of children and encourage retention and attraction within the ECEC workforce.
To read this submission please click HERE.
In the lead up to the November 2022 Victorian State Election ELAA, ECA and CCC are urging the Victorian government to support…
- Access and inclusion for all Victorian children, wherever they live
- Quality service provision across the state to provide the best outcomes for communities
- Workforce support to ensure an empowered and valued education and care sector
- Sector sustainability and investment in the future of not-for-profit education and care in Victoria