Standing up for Canberra

Boost for quality early childhood education in the ACT

Child care centres in the ACT will be eligible for funding to offset the costs associated with employing higher qualified staff while maintaining affordability for local parents.

Gai Brodtmann, Member for Canberra, and Andrew Leigh, Member for Fraser, said the grants were part of the $300 million Early Years Quality Fund, announced by the Gillard Government to help support the implementation of the National Quality Framework.

This Labor Government is committed to having a qualified and professional early childhood workforce to increase the quality of early childhood education.

The National Quality Framework is an important element of our reforms to the early childhood sector and requires early childhood services to employ staff with higher education qualifications by 2014.

This is great news for the 26,290 children in the ACT who are benefiting from the Government’s early childhood reforms which are improving the quality of child care.

There are 323 child care services across the electorates of Fraser and Canberra.

It is anticipated that around 30 per cent of long day care centres will use the fund to boost wages for their staff.

To qualify for grants, childcare providers must show a commitment to quality outcomes for children, demonstrate how they will meet the National Quality Framework requirements and ensure ongoing affordability for families.

The Government understands the pressures modern families face to make ends meet, which is why we are investing in the fund that includes an extra $3 an hour for eligible employees from 1 July.

This wage increase will help raise the professional status of early childhood educators without childcare fees having to go up.

As part of the announcement, a new Pay Equity Unit will also be established in the Fair Work Commission, with an initial focus on the early childhood education and care sector.

An advisory board will also be established to oversee the development and implementation of the fund and will include employee and employer representatives.

This investment builds on the Government’s increase to the Child Care Rebate from 30 to 50 per cent of child care costs, which has resulted in an extra $25.9 million in the hands of ACT families.

Over the next four years, we are investing a record $23.2 billion in early childhood care – more than triple the Howard Government in its last four years in office.

For more information on the fund visit www.deewr.gov.au/earlyyearsqualityfund.