The Front Project’s Pre Budget Submission states our views and recommendations around early childhood education and care (ECEC) for Government to prioritise in the 2022–23 Federal Budget.

This Budget is an opportunity to make sure no child, family or community misses out on the advantages of a high-quality, accessible and affordable ECEC system.
A well-functioning, accessible and quality ECEC system supports Australia’s economic prosperity, through the opportunity to provide employment to ECEC professionals, and giving parents and carers a chance to return to work or study. These social, educational and economic outcomes are substantial, and most impactful, when they are invested in high-quality, affordable ECEC in areas experiencing disadvantage. With the great strides made in ECEC policy over the last 12 months, this Budget can ensure Australia’s ECEC system is robust, equitable and affordable for all families, no matter where they live. 

In the Submission, we make seven recommendations:

Recommendation 1: 

Conduct a thorough review of the Inclusion Support Program and the Community Child Care Fund to ensure it adequately supports services operating in areas of disadvantage, especially in regional, rural and remote areas 

Recommendation 2:

Expand the Additional Child Care Subsidy and work with communities to encourage more families to access the help they need to access ECEC. 

Recommendation 3:

Revise the activities test to make sure no child misses out on ECEC, regardless of their parents’ working circumstances. 

Recommendation 4:

Expand Commonwealth Paid Parental Leave (PPL) for all parents to 26 weeks, with a ‘use it or lose it’ component. 

Recommendation 5: 

Commission the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to investigate ECEC pricing and the market, to make recommendations for developing robust price control measures to ensure ECEC remains affordable for Australian families.

Recommendation 6: 

Adopt a system stewardship framework of leadership to ensure the sustainability and longevity of the ECEC sector. 

Recommendation 7: 

Create a permanent emergency funding pool to ensure the sector is prepared for future external shocks like COVID-19, especially in regional, rural and remote communities.