FEDERAL Member for Blair Shayne Neumann is urging people to have their say on a new Productivity Commission (PC) report on the future of early childhood education and child care.
The draft report released recently, A path to universal early childhood education and care, considers how to build an affordable, accessible, high quality, universal early learning system.
The PC is considering cost and availability barriers that affect access to ECEC services, and ways to support better outcomes for children and families. 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 government 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 around 14% in Blair.
The changes to the Child Care Subsidy introduced in July are benefiting around 1.2 million families across the country, including 8,900 families in Blair, and providing real cost of living relief.
Cheaper Child Care has increased the base subsidy rates for all families earning up to $530,000, with the maximum subsidy now set to 90% for families earning $80,000 or less.
The changes also mean that First Nations children can get at least 36 hours of subsidised early childhood education and care (ECEC) each fortnight, regardless of their family’s activity level.
ECEC includes centre-based day care, preschools, family day care, outside school hours care and in-home care.
The PC 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 stakeholders and community members to provide feedback to the PC on the draft report, which will inform the development of the final report. The draft report can be found here: pc.gov.au/inquiries/current/childhood#draft
You can provide comments on the report by mid-February 2024 by visiting: pc.gov.au/inquiries/current/childhood/make-submission
Local Ipswich News supporter Mr Neumann said the federal government’s Cheaper Child Care package was cutting the cost of child care, but there was more work to do.
“Where you live shouldn’t limit your children’s ability to access the transformational benefits of early learning, helping them to thrive throughout life.
“We have commissioned the ACCC to investigate the factors driving child care prices and we’ll receive their final report by the end of the year.
“The Productivity Commission’s inquiry will help chart a course to a universal early childhood education and care system.
“So I encourage all those interested to have their say and provide feedback on the draft report.”