Reviews to improve childcare and early childhood education commence
- Assistant Minister for Education
The Australian Government today announced the commencement of two critical policy commitments relating to childcare and early childhood learning.
They include the promise of an immediate review into the previous Labor Government’s administration of the Early Years Quality Fund (EYQF) and to meet with state and territory ministers to improve the implementation of the National Quality Framework (NQF).
Assistant Minister for Education, Sussan Ley, said the independent review of the EYQF was promised in response to concerns raised by many providers in the sector about the inequity of this Fund.
"It fulfils our election promise to examine the EYQF’s implementation process, taking into account allegations it was used to push childcare centres into enterprise bargaining agreements and boost union membership,” Ms Ley said.
The review will consider:
- The process by which the EYQF was established, including legislative and governance arrangements
- The experience of the early childhood education and care sector
- The views of the EYQF Advisory Board
- Submissions made to two parliamentary inquiries into the Early Years Quality Fund Special Account Bill 2013.
"I have asked the Department of Education to organise this independent review immediately and to report back by the end of October,” Ms Ley said.
Today, the Minister also confirmed she had written to each of the state and territory governments to find practical ways to improve the implementation of the NQF reforms, without compromising the standard of care provided to children.
"The issues to discuss will include considering whether we need to extend the deadline for staff training in light of a severe shortage of qualified personnel and whether the implementation of staff-to-child ratios can be slowed.”
"This will allow the sector enough time to absorb the required NQF changes, while ensuring continuity of services and affordable care,” Ms Ley said.
A joint meeting of ministers will be held as soon as a mutually convenient date can be set.