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Australian Childcare Alliance
Australia’s peak body for private long day early learning services, the Australian Childcare Alliance (ACA) extends its congratulations to Prime...
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The Australian Childcare Alliance (ACA) has welcomed today's announcement by the Prime Minister, The Hon Tony Abbott MP regarding the redirection of funding to childcare from his now defunct signature Paid Parental Leave (PPL) scheme.

Ms Gwynn Bridge, President of ACA, said that childcare affordability continues to be the number one reason families withdraw from childcare and the workforce.

"Families are increasingly sensitive to the smallest of price changes and they are forced to choose between providing a quality start to life for their children and work," said Ms Bridge.

The most recent What Parents Want Survey conducted by ACA in July 2014 revealed that more than 1 in 3 parents would reduce their level of work with a moderate increase in fees of just 10 per cent.

"Fees have been increasing because of regulations and higher standards and the government subsidies for families are not keeping up and simply pushing families out of the workforce," said Ms Bridge.

Ms Bridge said families and childcare providers across Australia would be pleased with this announcement, but as with all government decisions, the devil is in the detail.

"It is important that the government now works with the sector to understand that making childcare more affordable is not a simple fix. Too many times in recent history, government of all persuasions have had good intentions for our sector but have ultimately delivered policies with unintended consequences for families.

"What governments haven't been able to get right is ensuring affordability for families. This government now has the opportunity to relieve pressure on the household budget as families choose to return to the workforce," concluded Ms Bridge.

ENDS

Media enquiries:

Gwynn Bridge, ACA President - 0418 764 779

ACA President Gwynn Bridge said that families need assistance now but congratulates the Australian Government on not being tempted into kneejerk cuts.

"No Government should forget the overwhelming and positive contribution that early childhood education and care makes to workforce participation and the development of young Australians", Ms Bridge said.

ACA has confidence that the government, with the Productivity Commission's recommendations, will address affordability and accessibility concerns and families and children will be the beneficiaries.

ACA also welcomes the Australian Government's initial steps to address flexible delivery of care in rural and regional areas by restoring much need funding to the Occasional Care sector.

However, the changes outlined in this budget to the Jobs, Education and Training Child Care Fee Assistance (JETCCFA), if not implemented carefully, may impact negatively on some parents seeking to return to the workforce.

ACA will continue to urge the Australian Government to focus on improving affordability and accessibility for all families. The Australian economy, our children and our communities all benefit from increasing female workforce participation and quality early childhood education and care programs for children.

"The key issue is that more and more of the most vulnerable families in our community are struggling to access early childhood education and care. It would make no sense for any government to put the future wellbeing of Australia's children at risk", Ms Bridge said.

ENDS

Enquiries: ACA President Gwynn Bridge - 0418 764 779

 

Australia's long day child care providers today expressed concern over headline reports that children who spend large amounts of time in early childhood education and care (ECEC) services develop higher instances of aggression and hyperactive behaviours when commencing formal schooling.

Australian Childcare Alliance (ACA) President Gwynn Bridge said this is sending a negative message to all parents and the community when the evidence shows that only a very small percentage of children fall into this category.

"When children move from a rich, autonomous, learning environment at an ECEC service to the more rigid and structured school environment some children can be affected.

But we must also consider the culture and environment of children when determining patterns of behaviour. ECEC is only one aspect of a much bigger picture," said Ms Bridge.

ACA believes that the pressure of the NAPLAN test in year three is driving a "push down" of formal, structured learning into the very important first year of school.

"This places our youngest children under considerable pressure and has the propensity to stifle their love of learning," said Ms Bridge.

ECEC services across Australia implement to the Early Years Quality Framework, a play-based curriculum, which is designed to guide and influence children in their early years to be decision makers in their own learning

"There is considerable discussion at present about schools being ready to receive children from an ECEC service and how they can reduce structure and formal learning and establish the first year of school on a play-based curriculum".

ACA is the peak body representing the long day child care sector and their educators who care for more than 400,000 young children.

ENDS

Media enquiries - Gwynn Bridge (ACA President) - 0418 764 779

 

The Australian Childcare Alliance (ACA) congratulates the Australian Government and in particular Assistant Minister for Education Sussan Ley on the launch of the Professional Development Guidelines of the Long Day Care Professional Development Programme (LDCPLP) and their resolution to divert the funds from the Labor government's unfair and ill-conceived Early Years Quality Fund (EYQF).

The fund will now provide Professional Development opportunities to all educators engaged in an Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) long day care service.

"All educators will now have the opportunity to participate in this fund through the provision of Professional Development in a non-competitive, fair and equitable manner," Ms Bridge said.

The Governments' commitment to continuing Professional Development will support and empower educators to further develop and scaffold their expertise and to set new goals as they expand on their current knowledge base through a variety of learning opportunities.

Professional Development is a valuable life time asset to educators particularly in an ECEC setting where they are accountable for continual improvement in providing high quality education and care programs to children during their most significant learning years.

With the hasty introduction of the National Quality Framework on 1 January 2012, no provision had been made by government at the time to provide professional development to assist educators with the implementation of the National Law, National Regulations and the new National Quality Standards.

This has placed a strain on educators and services and this Fund will now provide them with the opportunity to engage in training and development programs to embed this knowledge into practice.

ACA, representing 70 per cent of the private long day child care sector and the staff who care for more than 400,000 young children, is confident that quality in the sector will be improved by the injection of these funds for professional development.

ENDS

Media enquiries: Gwynn Bridge, ACA President - 0418 764 779

The Australian Childcare Alliance (ACA) welcomes the Australian Government's commitment to preschool and kindergarten funding under the National Partnership for a further 12 months.

Ms Judy Atkinson, Vice President of ACA said this is fantastic news after many months of sustained and productive discussions between ACA and the Australian Government.

ACA commends the Australian Government and Assistant Minister for Education, the Hon Sussan Ley MP on insisting that this new funding should be made available to all types of accredited preschool and kindergarten programmes – regardless of whether they were delivered through schools, standalone preschools or long day care centres.

"ACA has constantly advocated for the payments to be made as it was originally intended, to all children regardless of their parents' choice of provider", Ms Atkinson said.

"Today is a great day for Australia's young children. This announcement will provide certainty for families and services for 15 hours of preschool/kindergarten programs in 2015.

The ACA is certain that this announcement will be welcomed by families, educators and early education and care services as they prepare for 2015.

ENDS

Media Enquiries:

ACA Vice President Judy Atkinson - 0411 533 706

Committee member  Pau Mondo - 0411 587 170

With the budget axe expected to be wielded in less than a fortnight, the Australian Childcare Alliance has questioned the merits of the Abbott Government’s controversial Paid Parental Leave scheme, calling for funds to be re-directed to early childhood education and care.

“Whilst the Paid Parental Leave scheme may assist parents in staying at home to care for their children during their incredibly important first six months, the question that has not yet been answered is what happens next,” Australian Childcare Alliance President Gwynn Bridge said today.

“More than a million children are already in early childhood education and care, the majority of whom are in long day care,” Ms Bridge said.

“Whilst supply and demand varies across the country, there are many long day care services with massive waiting lists, especially for babies, and our concern is that families will be facing an uncertain future once Paid Parental Leave expires, given that Government has not earmarked increased investment in the sector.

The Australian Childcare Alliance represents 70 per cent of the long day care sector. Australian Childcare Alliance staff care for more than 400 000 children nationally, a figure that is growing exponentially as a result of parents’ increasing work hours.

“The Prime Minister and Federal Treasurer have made it clear that this will be a tight budget,” Ms Bridge said.

“As such, is the Paid Parental Leave scheme the best spend when evidence suggests that investing in high quality early childhood education and care has long-term, significant benefits for children?

“International research is proving time and time again that investment in early childhood education and care delivers solid returns to tax-payers, with every dollar invested saving taxpayers up to $13 and generating a 15 - 17 per cent return to society,” Ms Bridge said.

“Imagine the benefits to children, families and the economy more broadly if even a portion of the $5.5 billion earmarked for Paid Parental Leave scheme was re-directed to early childhood education and care initiatives,” Ms Bridge said.

“We absolutely want to see an effective Paid Parental Leave scheme operating in Australia. But without the building blocks to help families after that critically important first six months, the positive legacy the Government intends to leave could be negated,” Ms Bridge concluded.

ENDS

Media enquiries: ACA President Gwynn Bridge - 0418 764 779

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