If the proposals in the landmark report are adopted, all children under the age of five will have access to high-quality early childhood education and care three days a week.
However, this recommendation, outlined alongside a series of other measures put forward by the Productivity Commission to improve the accessibility and affordability of childcare services, has not yet committed to changes by the Commonwealth It faces government approval.
A draft report on early childhood education and care to be released on Friday finds that many families across the country struggle to access services due to a variety of factors, including low availability, high costs and a lack of comprehensiveness. There was found.
Addressing these challenges would have major benefits for children and women’s labor force participation, the report says.
To reach the goal of three days of quality care, the federal government could step in to provide additional funding to areas with “complex needs” or “thin” coverage of child care services, support for establishment and continued implementation is needed, the report says. .
“In some parts of Australia, there is little or no early childhood education and childcare services available. More funding will be needed to address these persistent service gaps,” Productivity Commissioner Lisa Gropp said. Stated.
The paper also recommends that the federal government change its childcare subsidy arrangements.
The report recommends that the government should raise childcare subsidies to 100% of hourly wages for households with incomes below $80,000, up from the current level of 90%.
The “activity test,” which requires both parents to be working in order to qualify for childcare subsidies, should also be relaxed so that it only applies to families requesting 30 or more hours of childcare per week.
“A child’s right to at least three days of early childhood education and care a week should not depend on how well their parents work,” added Deborah Brennan, deputy commissioner of the Productivity Commission.
“By providing additional support to low-income families, we ensure that children are no longer excluded from education and care due to cost.”
The Productivity Commission also makes a number of recommendations to strengthen the childcare workforce, which currently suffers from severe skills shortages and is struggling to retain the industry’s existing staff.
Following the release of the report, Education Minister Jason Clare said there was still work to do to establish a universal early childhood education and care system, but the government had already made some progress.
“The Productivity Commission’s research will help pave the way for a universal early childhood education and care system,” he said.
https://thewest.com.au/lifestyle/productivity-commission-charts-course-to-three-days-of-early-childhood-education-c-12661634 Productivity Commission plans 3-day course to early childhood education