Federal Budget’s childcare and preschool investment welcome: Thrive by Five
12 May 2021 – The Thrive by Five campaign has welcomed the Budget announcement of a change to the childcare subsidy scheme and a national partnership on preschool for four-year-olds.
Thrive by Five CEO Jay Weatherill congratulated the Federal Government on allocating $1.7 billion towards lowering the cost of childcare in a bid to get more parents into the workforce and ease cost of living pressures for families. Other measures welcomed by Thrive by Five included:
$1.6 billion in funding for four-year-old preschool.
A new four-year funding agreement to be negotiated with the states and territories to replace the National Partnership Agreement on Universal Access to Early Childhood Education, which will support continued universal access to at least 15 hours of preschool each week for children in the year before they start school.
$33.6 million to improve preschool data collection and underpin a new framework to support the reform.
$16.9 million for streamlining childcare regulation and improving processes
Minderoo Foundation Co-chair Nicola Forrest AO said the measures in the Budget were important first steps.
“I commend the Morrison Government for heeding the call of the community to place greater emphasis on the early years and the importance of brain development for the long-term wellbeing of children,” Mrs Forrest said.
“There is a long way to go but this is certainly a good start.”
Mr Weatherill said the Morrison Government had a chance to impart the most significant reforms of early learning and childcare in Australian history.
“We’re calling on the Federal Government to deliver high quality, universally accessible and affordable early learning and childcare for every Australian child,” Mr Weatherill said.
“The current system is not working. Not for parents, children, families, educators and all Australians. It needs structural support to ensure no child is left behind in some of their most critical years of development and all parents have the choice to work. The evidence for reform is indisputable and the calls are only growing louder,” he said.
“We’re pleased that the Government has acknowledged early learning and childcare as an important area of investment, but these measures will only assist some families and their children.
“The increase to the subsidy meets some of the needs of the 250,000 families that have two or more children in childcare but not the 750,000 families who have one child in childcare nor the many others who still can’t afford childcare at all.
“The cost of childcare has risen faster than the cost of housing or electricity, and costs are still increasing. We need early learning and childcare to be affordable for the sake of future generations.
“Locking in four-year-old preschool is also welcome but the government has missed an opportunity to extend this to three-year-olds.
“Every child deserves access to high quality early learning.
“For the best possible opportunity for success, today’s Budget measures must also be accompanied by greater investment in the early education workforce, including fair pay for currently undervalued female workers, investment in training and long-term planning for more workers,” Mr Weatherill said.
“We encourage the Federal Government and all State and Territory leaders to bring their plans and ideas on early learning to July’s National Cabinet to build on the commitments that have been announced.”