The Front Project has welcomed the 2023 Federal Budget measures to support the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector, but said more needs to be done to support vulnerable children and families.
In relation to the Additional Child Care Subsidy, The Front Project CEO, Jane Hunt welcomed the additional $2.8 million over four years to streamline the delivery of the subsidy and expand the exceptional circumstances criteria.
“It is so important that we support our most disadvantaged groups, and this Additional Child Care Subsidy will do that, we look forward to seeing further investment to ease cost of living pressures facing families.
“We are pleased to see measures that ease the financial burden facing families and invest into the early years system” Ms Hunt said.
“Research shows that children experiencing disadvantage stand to benefit the most from ECEC – and we should increase our focus on alleviating barriers to accessing ECEC.
“Every year, more than 60,000 Australian children, or one in five, start school with developmental vulnerabilities – but this can be addressed through a quality, affordable and accessible ECEC system.
“Research also shows that quality early childhood education is critical to a child’s development because it lays the foundation for lifelong learning, socialisation, and emotional development.
“We are encouraged by the Federal Government’s investment in the sector, but we’d like to see an even greater focus at the next Federal Budget.”
Ms Hunt, said it was encouraging to see $72.4 million over five years to support the skills and training of workers in the ECEC sector.
“Our hard working ECEC educators deserve more support, so it’s encouraging to see a boost to training and professional development for the sector.
Of the $72.4 million for skills and training, $34.4 million will support educators to undertake professional development, and $37.9 million will provide financial assistance for educators to complete their practicum requirements for a Bachelor or postgraduate degree in Early Childhood Education.
Regional and rural education also got a boost, with $4.8 million over five years to support up to 2,000 ECEC workers to undertake a practicum exchange at a different service in rural or remote locations, including a living allowance.
“Sustainable, systemic investment into the ECEC system is needed to achieve the best possible outcomes for the sector, and the Front Project stands ready to continue supporting the Government in its endeavours to improve the system,” said Ms Hunt.