Country Kids deserve the best from the early leaning sector

Royal Far West welcomes the Productivity Commission’s initial findings into the early learning sector.

Its draft report, released last week, highlights some of the challenges for rural and remote families like access, availability and cost as barriers. It recommends childcare should be fully subsidised for three days a week for lower-income families and the activity test should be relaxed for everyone to ensure all young children can access care.

The draft recommendations in the report include:

  • 3 days a week of early learning and childcare for every child aged 0-5 years
  • 100% free early learning and childcare for lower income families
  • Workforce challenges facing the sector be prioritised, including career and recruitment pathways
  • A new independent Early Childhood Education and Care Commission to support, advise and monitor governments’ progress towards universal access to ECEC
  • The removal of the Activity Test for up to 30 hours per week
  • Early learning should be inclusive of all children, including children with disability and from diverse cultural backgrounds

Royal Far West argued in its submission that addressing workforce shortages and ensuring adequate levels of access to care across the country is critical. The draft report recognises that a ‘one size fits all’ solution will not work in practice for rural and remote children who are experiencing disadvantage and developmental vulnerabilities where there are no places available – the reality is that the very children who are most likely to benefit the most from ECEC services are the very ones who are least likely to get into an early learning setting.

 

Read our submission here

The Productivity Commission’s initial findings for truly universal and affordable ECEC for Aussie families makes good policy sense. Addressing workforce shortages and ensuring adequate levels of care across the country is critical

Jacqueline Emery
CEO Royal Far West