The latest Budget commitment marks an important step in building a high-quality early childhood education and care (ECEC) system that delivers benefits to all children and their families.
CEO of the Front Project, an independent national enterprise working to improve outcomes for children, Jane Hunt welcomed the Treasurer’s announcement today.
“Each investment that brings us closer to realising the full potential of our early childhood education system is a good one,” Ms Hunt said.
“Our early childhood education system benefits a lot of families, but it contains disincentives to work that the changes announced today will help to address.
“Building on the current childcare subsidy model can reduce the disincentives embedded in the system, so every parent or carer who wants to, has the chance to work, study or re-train.
“At this moment, getting people into jobs and easing the financial burden on families needs to be a priority, and families with a number of young children currently face some of the most barriers to work.”
The Front Project recently asked over 1,500 parents across Australia what they think about our early childhood education system – what they value, how they make decisions, how they feel and what they need. This will form new research to be released in coming weeks.
“Families across Australia have told us how vitally important ECEC is in their lives,” Ms Hunt explained.
“Families want the system to provide more choice and more flexibility, and make it easier for parents to get back into jobs.
“When it comes to their children, parents care about the quality of early learning services and believe that high-quality experiences give children a good start for school and beyond.
“Families have had to make difficult choices about work based on how affordable and accessible early learning services are – and whether it is worthwhile working.
“Families have told us that affordability is a barrier to getting back to work or taking on more hours, as well as to having more children.
Ms Hunt said the steps announced by the Treasurer today to optimise the childcare subsidy will help Australian families and our economic comeback.
“Australian families rely on our early learning system for their wellbeing and financial stability, and the commitments announced today will deliver some important improvements to that system,” Ms Hunt said.
“We’re continuing our work at the Front Project to see better outcomes for all Australian children, and that includes looking at more ways to enhance our early learning system into the future.”