Triple crisis looms over childcare in Australia

Triple crisis looms over childcare in Australia: solution is adequate government funding, not cuts in quality 

“The Government ignores this at their peril because the collapse of our sector will 
have dire consequences for families, children and the economy“ – Amy Bell, educator 

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Childcare educators say Australian families will be hit by a triple crisis in early childhood education and care unless the Federal Government takes urgent action to address staff shortages, affordability and accessibility.

The only practical solution to this looming crisis is an increase in government funding according to a submission to the Productivity Commission inquiry into Childcare and Early Childhood Learning by educators and their union United Voice.

Louise Tarrant, National Secretary of United Voice says “Statements by the Assistant Minister for Education have done nothing to allay educators’ concern that the Government does not understand the gravity of the crisis facing childcare.

“The Government’s persistence in attacking the national quality standards is undermining parental confidence in the sector.

“Our submission to the Productivity Commission inquiry confirms educators’ experience and available research: quality is critical to parents and to their participation in the workforce,” says Louise Tarrant.

The educators’ submission reveals that over the next five years:

  • 180,000 additional trained staff - almost double the existing workforce – will be needed due to increasing demand and high turnover (currently 180 leave the sector every week); 
  • Average daily fees will top $100 and up to $120 in more expensive markets; and 
  • Government funding caps will limit many families to just three days a week in childcare. 

Educator Amy Bell of Sydney says “Government action is needed to address all three problems of staff shortages, affordability and accessibility.

“But this must not be at the expense of quality. As an educator I know that parents care deeply about their children’s experiences when they entrust them to our sector.

“Parents understand the early years are precious and that meeting their children’s developmental needs is not negotiable – 80% of brain development occurs in the first three years of life. That’s why quality is at the heart of parental confidence in our work and our sector.

“The Government ignores this at their peril because the collapse of our sector will have dire consequences for families, children, society and the economy,” says Amy Bell.

Summary of the submission and ECEC Quick Facts

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