The Productivity Commission has released its draft report on the future of early childhood education and care (ECEC).
The draft report, A path to universal early childhood education and care, considers how to build an affordable, accessible, high quality, universal early learning system.
The report includes a range of draft recommendations to achieve this.
While there is more to do to establish a universal early childhood education and care system, the Federal Government said it is already making progress on some of the findings in the draft report.
The Government’s Cheaper Child Care changes have cut the cost of early childhood education and care by 13.2 per cent.
The changes also mean that First Nations children can get at least 36 hours of subsidised early childhood education and care each fortnight, regardless of their family’s activity level.
Over the last 17 months, the Government has announced funding to open 55 new early childhood education services in rural and regional communities, along with support to keep 441 existing services open.
Additionally, the Government’s Early Childhood Education Workforce Package is helping to retain the existing highly skilled early learning workforce, with a focus on regional and remote services and First Nations organisations.
The Productivity Commission will hold public hearings in early-2024 on the draft report’s findings, with a final report to be provided to the Government by 30 June 2024.
The Government encourages the community to provide feedback to the Productivity Commission on the draft report, which will inform the development of the final report.
The community can provide comment on the draft report by mid-February 2024 by visiting: www.pc.gov.au/inquiries/current/childhood/make-submission
Federal Minister for Education Jason Clare said while the Government’s Cheaper Child Care package is cutting the cost of child care by 13.2 per cent, there is more work to do.
“We have commissioned the ACCC to investigate the factors driving child care prices and we will receive their final report by the end of the year,” he said.
“The Productivity Commission’s Inquiry will help chart a course to a universal early childhood education and care system. I encourage all those interested to provide their feedback on the draft report.”
Federal Minister for Earlier Childhood Education Dr Anne Aly said where a child lives shouldn’t limit their ability to access the transformational benefits of early learning, helping them to thrive throughout life.
“We’re working to build the world class early childhood education sector our children deserve, and that adapts to the needs of Australian families.”