New Government Report shows many Australian States are Failing to Invest Enough in Early Childhood Education and Care
7 February 2023 – Spending on early childhood education and care is falling in many states and territories across Australia and assessments of quality standards are down compared with recent years, according to new data from the Productivity Commission’s Report on Government Services (ROGS) released today.
State spending on early childhood education and care rose in NSW (+31% or $172 million), VIC (+10.3% or $74 million) and QLD (+9% or $27 million). However spending on ECEC fell in other states in real terms, WA (-1.5% or -$6 million), SA (-2.4%, or -$5.7 million, TAS (-7.7% or $3.7 million), ACT (-4.3% or $2.7 million) and NT (-1.0% or -$0.7 million).
Jay Weatherill , Director of Minderoo Foundation’s Thrive by Five initiative said, “New Productivity Commission data shows early learning across Australia can differ greatly depending on children and parent’s postcode.
“The uneven performance between states and territories on ECEC spending and quality assessment highlights the urgent need for a national approach to ensure children in the smaller states and territories do not fall behind children in the big states.”
The new data also revealed states and territories are falling behind in quality checks for early learning services. The number of childcare centres assessed for quality in 2022 was 1490, down on 2021 (2554) and half the pre-COVID average of 3000-plus assessments a year.
“Australia needs an ECEC system that is accessible, affordable and high quality. The fall in childcare centre assessments means parents do not have up-to-date information on the quality of services offered near them.
“The overall picture is we have a situation where children’s safety may be at risk, costs of early learning and childcare services are going up and children who would benefit from early learning can’t access services.
“Many parents who want to work are being kept at home because of a lack of affordable, quality childcare and all while we have unfilled jobs in the sector and in the wider economy.
“Australia’s early childhood educators and staff deserve more respect and a wage rise, and more must be done to address the ongoing workforce crisis.
“Next week’s Early Years Summit will be a prime opportunity for creating a national
vision for improving childcare by delivering a universally accessible and affordable quality early learning system for every child,” Mr Weatherill said.
 Table 3A.6, Report on Government Services 2022 Early childhood education and care
 Table 3A.30, Report on Government Services 2022 Early childhood education and care