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
The Senate Select Committee on Work and Care was appointed by the Senate on 3 August 2022 to inquire into the impact that combining work and care responsibilities has on the wellbeing of workers, carers, and those they care for. The committee will consider evidence on the extent and nature of work and care arrangements, the adequacy of current support systems, and effective work and care policies and practices in place in Australia and overseas. Community Child Care (CCC) and Community Early Learning Australia (CELA) collaborated with ELAA to create a submission to the committee, with the aim of presenting our responses and recommendations to the proposed terms of reference that the Work and Care Committee will follow.
ELAA continues to advocate for excellence, equity, quality and the wellbeing of all levels of the early education and care sector.
To view the submission CLICK HERE
In this paper – prepared by Community Early Learning Australia (CELA), Early Learning Association Australia (ELAA) and Community Child Care Association (CCC) – we examine current workforce pressures, their impact on education and care services and possible ways forward.
In the context of the release of the ACECQA workforce strategy and a focus on workforce in many states, we propose a range of measures to support our sector to attract, develop and retain our vital workforce.
CLICK HERE to download the paper.