The time has come, cut the activity test, raise wages

In their pre-budget submission, leading early childhood education and care (ECEC) organisation, the Front Project, has a vision that a high quality universal ECEC system becomes a reality in Australia.

The Australian Government has made clear its ambition for a universal system, and the Front Project wholeheartedly supports evidence-based reforms that improve children’s outcomes, address disadvantage and support workforce participation.

Reflecting the draft recommendations in the ACCC’s Childcare Price Inquiry and the Productivity Commission’s inquiry into the ECEC Sector, the Front Project proposes the abolition of the Activity Test, so no child misses out regardless of their parents’ circumstances. Estimates show the Activity Test contributes to at least 126,000 children missing out on ECEC, this must be a relic of the past.

“Our submission also renews calls for an immediate investment in a 25% Commonwealth-funded wage supplement and improved working conditions for award-reliant ECEC educators and teachers.” the Front Project’s CEO Jane Hunt said.

“It is essential to retaining and attracting a qualified, vibrant workforce for sustainable growth. Achieving universal access cannot happen without a strong and stable workforce, and improved wages and conditions are the place to start.”

The Front Project calls upon the government to adopt a package of measures to address ECEC deserts, enhance inclusion and improve cultural safety.

A universal, affordable, equitable and high-quality system will not only benefit Australia’s children, but support families to work and an inclusive, responsive ECEC system also means providing a welcoming, culturally-safe experience for all children, placing their needs firmly at the centre.

Read the Pre-Budget submission here