Child care subsidy changes a win for families and the nation, but more work to do

Leading early childhood education and care (ECEC) organisation, The Front Project has welcomed the passing of legislation into the Australian Parliament to lift the Child Care Subsidy (CCS).

The Front Project CEO, Jane Hunt, said the Australian Government should be commended for working to address ECEC affordability for Australian families.

“This is an important day for the ECEC system, the families and children that rely on it, and the broader Australian economy,” Ms Hunt said.

“Right across Australia, many families weigh up their household spending and consider that the cost of ECEC is not worth it financially.

"This cost is normally weighed against the income of the second wage earner which almost always affects the working life of women.

“The Australian Government is working to address the high costs by introducing changes to CCS legislation which, if passed, will make ECEC more affordable for more Australians.

This is something we have been recommending, as a result of feedback from parents and analysis of the workforce disincentives created by the interaction between the CCS and tax system. It is an important step in unleashing the full potential of a quality ECEC system, but there is more work to do.”

Ms Hunt said that it was important that the changes to the CCS are coupled with measures to ensure families receive the full benefit of the changes.

“We must ensure that families actually see the full benefit of these changes and I note the legislation includes measures to ensure this happens. It is also why the ACCC inquiry into rising ECEC costs is so important,” Ms Hunt said.

“Affordability is only one part of the mix though and we look forward to working with policymakers on ensuring the ECEC system is sustainable, accessible to all and delivering quality.

To create real, system-wide change for all families the effectiveness of the mixture of different ECEC funding models that currently operate across the country must be addressed. This is especially important for children and families experiencing disadvantage and vulnerability who need additional support to access quality ECEC.

‘We believe in targeted funding for ECEC services in disadvantaged communities, two years of funded ECEC before school for all children and a deeper investment in a quality, sustainable workforce to further address the needs of children, families and the sector in Australia.

“If we get these elements right, we can unleash the full potential of the ECEC system to support childhood development, workforce participation and economic growth.”