Comments from people who work in education and care services



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Productivity Commission

Inquiry into Childcare and Early Childhood Learning

Comments from people who work in education and care services

Included are only those comments received by 5 September 2014, for which the submitted gave their approval for use of their comment by the Commission. Some comments have been edited to remove information which the Commission considered could enable identification of the submitter.

  1. As an EC Teacher who has worked for 25 years in the field, (& as a parent who has used childcare) I have seen many positive changes to the EC industry but I am greatly concerned about discussion to water down staff-to-child ratios and the lowering of educator qualifications. These actions will negatively impact on the high quality of care and education in services. They oppose the current research which acknowledges the benefits in having reduced staff-to-child ratios and highly qualified educators for children's optimal learning. Increased workloads that educators have due to EC reforms also need addressing. Funding to better support educators in meeting requirements (e.g. resources, time release etc.) is essential. As a society, let's invest in Early Childhood and give the best start to our children. The benefits are significant and long-lasting!

  1. As a single mother I struggled with fees; now as an Educator fees have grown beyond what any single or low income earner parent can afford with rising costs and ratios reduced. There is not an Educator I have spoken to whom agrees on reducing ratios (despite what FDCA is saying) as this has increased costs to parents (6.50 per hour to now 8.50 per hour) and I am on the lower end of fees. When this idea first came in parents didn't object as their child was going to school by the time it was effective so they didn't appeal it (smart from Labour). Coalition stated it would insider this being overturned and nothing has happened. Disabled children that I have cared for over 6 years with funding being stopped from [locality] are now being told that FDC is not an option; where is continuity of care and common sence gone; 3000 for 48 care compared to 20 an hour in care always used; I care for these children for ?3.00 an hour now (sometimes 150.00 a week 24/7 care; peg fed; medications; limited mobility; because I have morals and values; being told to send them to DoCs is not an option for parents. Susan Ley now in power sits on hands and emails stating watch my confidentiality when Nother centre is charging a normal child 9000 per week and is still operating and proof sent with parents permission. Disgusting system for those who want to work and truly care for children; shame on the government. Current Affair bring this out to open; do your job Susan and save money by shutting down rosters of the system.

  1. I strongly oppose the transitional regulations to go beyond 2015. It is hard enough using this provision as a stop gap for the lack of trained staff.

I strongly recommend the assessment and rating service to stay in place. Every child and family deserve the respect that they will be educated in a quality rated centre.

I strongly recommend that there be no delays in the proposed ratio changes.

There should also be an expedient completion of the kindergarten teachers collective contract.

I would strongly oppose the importation of cheap nanny labour.

These all go towards making Australia's early childhood education a quality area.


  1. I believe in the importance of Early Childhoo teachers being fully qualified in order to be a teacher. Do not water down the skills and expertise of staff - we need qualified teachers. Instead, acknowledge the need for expertise in a crucial field. Instead provide more programs which provide mentors and in some cases onsite mentors.

I also believe the institutions providing the qualifications and passing students needs to be reviewed and institutions being expected to provide excellence in training packages, assessment and providing students with their qualifications. Many students I have mentored are lacking on the ground confidence and skills to take on the rigours of a stand alone preschool program and I am concerned for the children that will be in their services.

While I believe a rating and assessment system is a valuable tool. I am concerned that the lack of uniformity of this process is causing more distress and colleague dismay. If we are to provide a rich stage for reform and we truly want to support our services, children, families and staff, I believe the method and roll out should be honed, considered and the assessors be implementing the same core assessing attitudes and processes.

I am also concerned about how the rating system is being implemented and shared. Services should be provided with expectations, support, guidance. If the problem lies with the provider, why is it fair to include the staff. Staff are employed, guided, directed and qualified by others. If they are not performing to the highest standard then we need to look further afield to the institutions they attended and the service providers that employ them.


  1. I am a strong advocate for the NQF and particularly the 'rating and assessment' process. I believe it has the capacity to improve the quality of service provision across the board and it will help to create more uniformity in practice. I would be devastated to see it scrapped. I have seen some pretty hideous programming and practice in ECE settings over time and some really require a good shake up.

I understand that some people are concerned regarding the possible competitive side-effect of publishing ratings BUT I think 'naming and shaming' may just be the only way to motivate some services into action. I am particularly referring to privately operated (for profit) LDC services here.

I have socialist views on the provision of educational services and really have my doubts as to whether a service that has been privately established with the aim of making a profit can truly have 'quality' service provision at the core of their philosophy.

The submission made by the 'Australian CC Alliance' is horrendous in potential and is clearly all about supporting the business owners in the LDC industry and their motivation is based on 'economics' NOT on what is in the best interests of the children LDC's serve.

Children deserve to be educated by a 4 year fully trained teacher and nothing less. I do not want to be operated on by a first year medical student, I want a fully qualified surgeon taking care of me. Simple.

This is about providing the best quality ECE education for our children and if the NQF and a rating and assessment process can do that, then bring it on I say!


  1. Research and studies all point to how important early childhood is in achieving the BEST outcomes for children! Having people who aren't quickens in the sector undermines and de values our sector! Have you tried having 30 4 year old children in the room with two staff members? The ratios need to change!! One child just has to wet their pants and another need 1:1 help in an activity and bam the other 28 children are left to fend for themself! Early childhood is the foundation for the test of those children's life they deserve better and I deserve better work conditions! 1 :15 ratio is just to high and not achievable leaving the sector feeling stressed undervalued and overworked!!

  1. Early childhood education and care teachers are exactly that ; qualified teachers. It should remain so if we believe in the importance of the early years as the foundation for future successful learning and social prosperity. If anything teachers should be required to reach higher standards of pedagogical practice and theory to cope with the many demands of this complex social domain.

  1. We as a sector have worked so hard and given so many extra hours making our services perfect for rating and assessment. We have discussed as a team what we do and why we do it and how we can better serve the kindergarten community. For all our hard work to be thrown away as if to say it is not valued or important to improve the status of our profession makes me very disillusioned with what that achieves and who it is assisting. We as educators should be questioned about how we think the new system is working within centres and of we are happy with how it runs. We have worked too hard for it just to be all thrown away.

  1. I am soooo angry about this.

The govt rolled out reforms without a plan as to how they do it, now they are dumbing down what a kindergarten teacher is to meet the demand. How can someone half way through their degree know what the f....k to do!

I've seen second year students, I've been a second year students - you know squat!

You are trivializing the role of a teacher if you think someone 1/2 way through the course has the knowledge required for the job.

I also didn't go to uni and work my but off to have a diploma be my equivalent.

There is so much confusion in the industry as to the names of courses that it is not helping.

The amount of providers offering dodgy courses makes the whole NQF a joke. I have people applying for jobs who can't read, speak or write English, yet they have a Diploma.

You wonder why qualified teachers are leaving the industry - read the above!

Really angry over this!

The rot has to stop now!


  1. If schools can't hire a student teacher to teach, neither should kindergartens hire student teachers to be their Early Childhood Teacher.

  1. All children deserve qualified teachers. We absolutely know that qualifications matter. I think parents (or the wider society) would not be very happy or should it be acceptable with a half trained teacher working at the early childhood sector.

  1. Enough is enough.

Degree Trained Teachers have received a deep university education. This education takes a FULL four years not half of or three quarters of four years.

Do we allow partially trained doctors to be called doctors NO. We too are toying with children's futures.

There is a role for all Early Childhood Educators but there needs to be a deliniation between each level and Teachers need to be recognised and paid for their deep knowledge of Pedagogy and Theory.

Allowing partially trained teachers to be recognised and allowed to teach is not the answer to quality.

LEAVE THE QUALITY SYSTEM alone.

At long last there is a move towards high quality across all Early Childhood Education and there is proven research which shows the higher the quality the better the outcomes for our future, our children.



  1. A major European study of a national sample of over 2000 children, from 114 different centres, from pre-school, private and local authority childcare centres on child development; found significant support for the benefits for quality early years education. The Effective Provision of Pre-school Education (EPPE) Project, A Longitudinal Study, funded by DFEE in England (1997-2003) gives evidence to support the following:

• Duration of attendance in early year’s education is important and early start (under 3 years) is linked to better intellectual development

• The number of months a child attends pre-school continues to have an effect on their progress throughout primary school

• High quality pre-school and early year’s provision combined with a longer duration had the strongest effect on child development

• High quality pre-schooling is related to and improves intellectual and social/behaviour development of children

• Settings where staff have higher qualifications, have higher quality scores and children make more progress

• Disadvantaged children benefit significantly from good quality pre-school experiences, especially where they mix with children from different social backgrounds

• Integrated centres (combining education and care) are more effective than other types of provision in promoting positive child outcomes

• Those children who had no pre-school experience were more likely to be at risk of Special Educational Needs.

Therefore evidence suggests that children need access to quality early learning experiences, with experienced and qualified staff. The implementation of the National Quality Framework (NQF) in monitoring and assessing standards is a requirement in maintaining and improving early years care and education. The Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) and the Queensland Kindergarten Learning Guidelines (QKLG), linked with continuous profession development (CPD) ensures positive outcomes for children and parents and guidance for staff, ensuring quality provision. In order to provide a holistic and quality service, which is fit for purpose, staff need to be qualified, staff are currently qualified using the Certificate III and Diploma in Children’s Services, which combines theory with practise, which is effective within the industry, for educators and senior educators, with a bachelor degree in early years education for early childhood teachers; in order to be competitive within Western society, we need to ensure and implement a solid early years education for the next generation.

A grievance within the industry is the pay scale for educators, senior educators, teachers and directors; there is little advance in wages between educators and senior educators, early childhood teachers are paid less than teachers within the school setting and directors are paid poorly within a management role. Staff are qualified, experienced and are offering a professional service, based on government guidelines, accreditation, curriculum, policies and procedures; we are offering a valuable educational experience, not a babysitting service to children and families. Staff turnover, within the industry is high, within our service there are only six original staff left from when the centre first opened in 2010, out of the twenty four staff. We are on our fourth director and fifth assistant director. Staff leave the industry due to pay, as staff say that they can work at the local supermarket, with less stress, no qualifications for the same pay; as in childcare and early years education, the pay does not reflect the professional service we offer and the demands of the profession, the importance of early years education is unrecognised and undervalued within the industry.

The effects of high staff turnover on the centre, staff, children and families are significant, as evidenced in the study, ‘Caring for a living’, A study On Wages and Working Conditions in Canadian Child-Care, conducted by the Canadian Childcare Federation and the Canadian Day Care Advocacy Association in 1991; with the following findings:

• High caregiver turnover erodes the quality of care

• Changing caregiver often greatly affects a child’s ability to form trusting, loving attachments

• Close to 40% of childcare workers need to be replaced each year.

• Compared to the general work force, childcare workers have a high level of education.

• Low wages, a lack of benefits and adverse working conditions make it difficult for many childcare workers to remain in the profession.

• High staff turnover can lead to negative effects on a child’s long term development and school performance.

The US National Chid-Care Staffing Study, conducted by the Child-Care Employee Project (1989), found that children in centres where there was a high staff turnover lead to low staff morale, low quality of care and found that children were less competent in language and development. Directors also noted that high staff turnover and finding qualified substitutes, is a major problem, as it takes time and money to find and train new employees; more than that there is the adjustment period between the staff, the caregiver and the children.

While poor wages are the major reason caregivers leave the field, a lack of benefits, poor working conditions, little room for career advancement and a severe absence of respect and recognition for the enormity of their job are citied as factors in the high turnover.

In order to maintain quality of service, which benefits the development and education of our children, the future of Australia, we need to maintain standards within childcare and early years education, by ensuring staff are qualified and experienced; maintaining that the profession is monitored by government bodies, through the NQF and positive outcomes are achieved through curriculum, assessment and guidelines (EYLF and QKLG) and staff feel valued, motivated to work in the profession long term, through fair wages, to reduce high staff turnover, which guarantees quality of service and care.



  1. I have been working the industry now for over 12 years and in the last few years i have watched it changed for the better. we used to be labelled ‘baby sitters’ or just ‘childcare minders’, now through the support of the Early years learning Framework and the National Quality Framework and the training that is already provided for us by Goodstart and external companies we can now proudly call ourselves Early years Educators. This is a standard we proudly stand up for not only for our selves but for our children our families and our community. We deserve to be recognised for the hard work we do and the quality care that is provided for our Children. The early years learning framework allows us as educators to provide the support and needs of each child's development. Through Intentional teaching practices, child initiated activities and focusing on their interests and allowing them to explore the world around them. This then is documented and followed on to allow children to use their imaginations and learn from their experiences. The National quality Framework is a guideline to ensure our practices are up to standard to ensure our children are getting quality care. Everyday practices ensure our health and safety, staffing, relationships with children, Family and community involvement, programing, sustainability and management are being reflected and implemented to the highest standard. All educators are responsible for this, and being paid $18 - $24 for most educators doesn't justify for what we provide for the our children. We will end up losing Educators if this doesn't change. We are all very passionate about our career and want to provide the best for our children. We need to recognised for everything we implement for our children Parents and community.

  1. Our Pre-School (Limited Hours, Type 2 Licence) offers part time workers, part-time care and pre-school for their young children. We feel strongly that this type of care should also be recognised as care for working parents - many of our parents are trying to offer their children the best of both worlds by working part time AND spending quality time with their children. Many of our mothers are afraid that if they don't keep their foot in the door, they'll become unqualified and inexperienced when the time comes for them to return to the workforce full time when their children are at school.

In order to encourage mothers to stay in the workforce, limited hour childcare/ occasional care/ pre-school/nannies needs to be also be considered a genuine form of care and must not be disadvantaged by not being able to access the same benefits of those working full time.

We know of many parents who put their children in full time childcare when they only work part time as they can't access assistance from any other type of more flexible childcare eg occasional care/nannies/pre-school/part time childcare services. If different, more flexible childcare options were more affordable (claimable) for parents, I would imagine that childcare places would be freed up and make room for those who genuinely need full days of care.

Thank you for you time.


  1. AN INTRODUCTION TO THE FORREST LEARNING CENTRE

Forrest Early Learning Centre, part of Forrest Primary School is situated 35 km south east of Colac in the Otway Ranges. The school has proudly served the rural community since 1885 and the Pre-School commenced operation in 2000. Prior to 2014, School Council held a service agreement to run Preschool and Occasional Care services. In 2014 our new centre based service agreement will alter to reflect the changing needs of the Forrest community, enabling more comprehensive childcare and educational service options.

The school, with a current enrolment of 38 students, has extensive gardens and grounds providing active and passive play areas, and several well maintained play equipment areas. The Early Learning Centre, current enrolment 11, is complete with safe and stimulating outdoor play areas suitable for children under school age. At Forrest we believe that children deserve the opportunity to fulfil their potential. We know this can best occur when children are actively engaged in learning tasks in a safe, positive and supportive environment. To realise these aims we encourage community support with active participation.

Educators work together in a purposeful and professional manner to plan and implement programs. Pre-School and Childcare programs are based upon the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework (VEYLDF), which is designed to advance children’s learning and development from birth to eight years of age. The framework provides early childhood professionals with a common language for describing outcomes for children, and describes practice principles to guide early childhood professionals to work together, with children and with families to achieve the best outcomes for every child.

HISTORY


When the need to provide 15 hours of funded Pre-School was first broached with Department of Education and Early Childhood (DEECD) in term 4, 2013, we seized an incredible opportunity to consult with our community and overhaul services to best reflect community need. Many Forrest families had resorted to travelling with their children to childcare centres in both Colac and Birregurra (about 30 minutes by car). Previously Forrest had been used for “In Venue Family Day Care” but the Corangamite Shire withdrew this service in 2013. In 2014, the Birregurra “In Venue Family Day Care” service also closed, again displacing some families. Therefore we needed to act before our families found childcare and eventually a primary school out of Forrest.

Not only do we view our Pre-School and Early Learning Centre as an integral element of our learning community, but the building also facilitates Maternal and Child Health Nurse visits, adding another level of community support for new parents and babies.

DEMOGRAPHIC

Both physical location and social demographic affect our Early Learning Centre. Forrest is situated in the Colac Otway Shire and is considered significantly disadvantaged, as supported by the Australian Early Development Index data (33% of children deemed at risk in one or more of; physical health and wellbeing, social competence, emotional maturity, language and cognition, communication skills and general knowledge) and a DEECD determined Student Family Occupations density Index of 0.4274. The physical location of the Early Learning Centre and Primary School is within the DEECD location index level 0.19. The DEECD component determines our school funding levels, and also affects our Pre-School funding (small rural) levels.

SERVICE SUMMARY

PRE-SCHOOL- state funded educational program 4 YEAR OLDS (15 hours a week)

PRE-SCHOOL- locally funded educational program 3 YEAR OLDS (15 hours a week)

Cuddly Koalas CHILDCARE- care for before school aged children, capped at 4 places per session.

Friendly Frogs CHILDCARE- care for before school aged children, capped at 4 places per session.

Awesome Afters- Out of School Hours Care Program for school aged children 5-12years old.

OUR FEE STRUCTURE

Fees and charges have been set by school council, with Pre-School being state funded and OSHC subject to CCB. But in 2014 we have been required to temporarily lower fees for our childcare services to enable more parents to utilise these services which cannot attract CCB. This is not sustainable in the long term so we are looking for a workable solution now and would like to forward some suggestions to the Productivity Commission.

LIMITATIONS

Unfortunately, due to limitations of facilities/ location/ staffing we are unable to offer under school aged childcare programs that attract the federal government Child Care Benefit (CCB). Luckily our Out Of School Hours Care service is registered for the CCB rebate lowering parents’ costs.

We cannot offer a Long Day Care service, which does attract CCB, as our centre is not able to operate for the necessary 8 hours a day, 48 weeks a year. Our limitations on this include; the space being used for our funded Pre-School program 3 days a week, the significant disadvantages of our physical rural location, facilities and the inflexibility of national childcare legislation.

THE FUTURE

The future is bright for Forrest Early Learning Centre but we need some assistance.

• Recently we were notified that we have been invited to submit a more detailed application for the Early Learning Facility Upgrade Grant 2013-2014. This process must be completed by the end of February 2014, and we await a successful outcome which will enable us to increase our level of capacity and programs and provide a more enriched learning environment.

• On a financial level we require certain legislative changes that will enable us to provide childcare programs which will attract the federal government CCB, therefore making childcare accessible to all families. Perhaps an exemption of service hours may be applicable to remote/ rural areas such as Forrest.

• If a Child Care Management System (CCMS) was integrated into our Departmental Administrative program (Cases21) it would mean less double handling and time wasted.



Thank you very much for taking the time to consider our situation at Forrest. We await your considered report and envision all childcare centres benefitting from this Productivity Commission process.

  1. Recruitment of appropriate and enough staff at any particular childcare place will increase the quality of work, On other hand all crew should be trained properly and well paid . Moreover job security in all workers who involve in child care will enhance their confidence and their delegence towards work.

  1. I have four years experience working with children. I enjoy working with children because I know that early education sets them up for life. Offering quality education and care helps both parents, to return to work, and children, in their development. Quality education is based on the five outcomes outlined in the EYLF, quality education helps educators to focus on the interest of children and considering them as responsible individuals. It also means employing educators who have the required qualifications. This can only happen if educators are given enough money to stay in the job they love.

  1. I work very hard for $19.60 an hour. There are not too many jobs where your role can be one of many things. Not only do we provide your children with the best early education, we also have to have top notch training in first aid, computer skills, food handling and community awareness, to name but a few. We are a very rare breed of people, we don’t do our job for the money, it’s way too mentally draining for that. We do it because we love it. It’s in our hearts. So take heed, you can’t keep treating us like second-class citizens. If you want truly great people looking after your children, then treat us with the respect we deserve.

  1. I get paid far less than what an unqualified apprentice factory worker does. I have a diploma and they have no qualifications. I did two years study! It is disappointing to hear the number of quality educators leaving the industry every week. When the pay rate is so low what do people expect. Why would quality educators stay?

The government wants quality education for the early years but can not allow the workers the right to quality pay!

  1. I am very happy what I have been doing for 12 years in the same child care center. At our center we have over staff ratio, good resources, training and good working environment.I have been paying above award. My lunch is an hour plus 20 minutes break. Our work environment is busy but relax. Most of staff in the center has been working together for long time. I am talking about 30 odd years then 20 odd years and 10 years. We grow together not just ourselves but children and their families.The families here feel secure, welcoming, warm, love and care. The children are happy. There are so much joys and laughs at my center. Not just because of what I love doing but my work is valued. My working condition encourage me to grow in this profession. I feel like I am educating the children with my knowledge and experience.

  1. I am co-owner of a centre. We take our role of providing a second home and learning opportunities very seriously. In a low socio-economic area, where hope for the future is limited for parents, the role of the educator at a childcare centre is important in educating the parent on what’s right for the child. I personally consider that this individual interface on a personal level by childcare workers in the early years phase is significantly more powerful in terms of education for family relationship structures than once the children reach the formal education system. It is much easier in the childcare environment to pick up the phone, relate personal details by the observant person, report what has happened and MORE IMPORTANTLY interface with DOCs agents when they come on the scene. We are so often also called to meetings between support agencies and child/parents and DOC's/parent/child. I cannot envisage (although accept it MIGHT happen) a DOCs worker, or community care worker crying over a child previous totally non communicative and withdrawn seeing one on one contact physically with a staff member (me) with bottle feeding a child so abused that previously it would not respond to ANY person physically or visually including parent without screaming. This was the extreme and I am not trying to assume it as the norm. However it does exist and without 100's of hours on our part; that child without a doubt would have been unlikely to live.

4. In terms of staffing I am a personal enthusiast of no longer employing as a majority in the workforce the young adult which the training keeps churning out. This leads mostly to information which with one tip of the head keeps emptied out, no experience in recognising the children as individuals and basically no understanding due to no life experience of the requirements of hygiene and safety for very young children. We NEED DESPERATELY to have people with life experience of people who have lived independently of their parents and recognise the requirements of day to day life to properly deliver to children the interactions, relationship building, and environment that they require to counter or substantiate their current living environments, and people who understand that the physical requirements of a child require EFFORT for their hygienic and safety well being, and to be able to REFLECT, COMMUNICATE and RESPOND to the children, their families and recognise instinctively the children’s changes in responses and behaviour - particularly those from troubled backgrounds. Unfortunately those who are likely to have those LIFE SKILLS are unlikely to stay in the industry because just remuneration, recognition and stability of employment.

5. Administratively the child care benefit system is: A NIGHTMARE. Thank God CCMS helpdesk is an interface - although we waste a lot of time talking to them they are very helpful (although themselves frustrated by process). The Centrelink process is disfunctional from an administrative point of view for SO MANY REASONS. It seems it is constructed to ensure that perceived contribution for childcare costs initially established is jeopardised at every quarter. EXAMPLES Children immunised at private clinics often get cut off for extended periods; JET for long day centres often ignored; and generally so fare delayed under normal circumstances for extended periods and cancelled without warning; very young children are tagged as being school aged; we cannot contact Centrelink to resolve due to breach of privacy; BECAUSE OF THE RESULTANT STUFF UPS ENJOYED WE HAVE ABSOLUTELY LIMITED CONTROL OVER DEBT LEVELS WHICH CAN ALMOST ALWAYS BE TRACED BACK TO CENTRELINK PROBLEMS BEFORE THE PARENT BOLTS LEAVING US WITH THE COST THAT IS 90% EMPLOYMENT OF STAFF BASED,

Point blank - over and over again parents are told by Centrelink staff this is what I say and it is NOT YOUR PROBLEM - it is the childcare centres problem; and yet the resolution pathway to us is JUST BLOCKED OFF. What I would give for just one Centrelink contact who was experienced in the field and knew what they were doing?

6. LOGICALLY - Given our exposure to family; our direct contact and knowledge of family structures ... it is VERY clear that half the families exposed to us that are claiming Single parent benefits status are in fact incorrect. This is so rife in our area, and needs an absolute case by case investigation to resolve. From my experience only probably 1 in 5 are genuine single parents. Likewise the number of children in these ‘single families’ where Dad wants another child for the bonus to get a new flatscreen TV....this makes me feel absolutely sick.

7. Likewise - those that are GENUINE single parents who OPT TO WORK to further their families future rather than sit home and take the much easier option. THEY ARE THE ONES THAT NEED MORE HELP.

8. OBJECTION MOST STRONGLY: I am horrified that we fell for the EYQF application for staff support that was advertised; having spent well in excess of 3 weeks during application/information/feedback process. I feel most keenly for the DEEWR staff who assisted us and had any assistance they had provided us summarised so succinctly demoralising as advised by the press regarding the reversal of funding availability. Our staff were sceptical (rightly so as it turned out) and disappointed after being convinced it was a geniune opportunity. 4 staff withdrew from their training (just less than 1/2 our workforce) and 3 have since left our employ. As employers - we ARE NOT A COMPANY and individually we were not set to reward from this for our own income. Both partners agree we would never waste such time again..... and in light of this... this feedback is likely to be our last waste of effort.

9. We have experienced a lot of crime from youth of the Indigenous community close to us. They are also the group to be most unlikely to expose their children to the services we offer; and this is mindful to me in terms of providing an insight to an alternative lifestyle. ANY fee is likely to be a barrier for this group of the community, and forever more I suspect community will need to absorb this shortfall.

IN SHORT:



  • Please recognise that we need to attract and retain people with life experience in the industry - which is unlikely without stability and just reward, and the life skills are unlikely in the very young

  • Review Centrelink processes - they are dysfunctional in the extreme

  • Recognise that a small centre such as ours does not resemble multi owned centres in terms of deliverance of childcare or mandatory reporting as we are TIED intrinsically to the day to day interface of family and children

  • Recognise that this is an opportunity to influence problems in children and family prior to formal education

  • Recognise that once the child leave childcare the interface of child to carer's; and carer to family is probably going to be so diluted that it will be unlikely to have positive outcomes and likely to be identified in only the most extreme cases

Recognise that DOCs is only called on if considered necessary by our industry and regardless of ‘staffing’ particularly part timers who are rarely able to be contacted; each case if it makes it that far needs to be ACTED ON and RESPONSE of information to the reporter needs to be available; particular if care of the child and interface with the parent is ongoing. We are SO OFTEN abused and threatened by families ... and we ourselves NEED protection

  • SINGLE PARENT CLAIMS: particularly in our local environment - this needs dedicated investigation because the symptoms and information sharing and lack of checking is just plain blatant.

  • It is unrealistic to expect us to apply for funding for required assitance into the future if it requires significant effort and input from us.

  1. The service in which we provide to other working people should be more appreciative. To be on such a small wage doing such an important job is sometimes insulting. Some of the children that come to the centre are there full time from 7am or 8am in the morning until 5pm or 6pm in the afternoon so it is important as an educator to be influencing the child in a positive and educated way.

  1. I'm passionate about my occupation. I strongly believe that all early childhood educators must be paid more.

  1. We need the following in the childcare sector:

• Better staff to child ratios

• Better wages for those working within the centre

• Better funding opportunities for centres

• Better opportunities and strategies with dealing with and implementing difficult children and families



• Better support by the government to be recognised as a foundation of this country

  1. I think the Childcare sector can be improved by allowing pay rises to all staff members who work hard and start off the education for children to help with their future. The amount of paperwork should be lower due to not being able to spend as much time as we should with the children which is what we are there for. 80% of the families don't take notice of the paper work they are more concerned with how their child's day went and asking what they enjoyed most.

  1. I feel we have to do so much for so little pay we put so much time and effort to teach these young children. I have 3 children of my own by the time I get home its so late to even do anything with my children. We do have to put up with a lot of stuff turn over as their not happy with the pay. I have been in childcare for 11 years and seen so many stuff turnover to look for better pay so that's something everyone needs to think about.

  1. Our centre needs more Qualified/Diploma educators. Over a year ago one Room Leader left the centre and up today we haven't find her replacement. When we need a diploma qualified personnel, we have spent one hour to find a relief staff. Most of the time we'll have to use different relief staff. I think it's unfair for the children as they need consistency and 'familiar faces' in their daily routines care and learning experiences.

  1. I get paid $19.66 an hours and it is not enough to meet my expenses. We need to be recognised more for what we do. Our job is very challenging and demanding. I think we deserve better wages and working conditions for what we do every day.

  1. I've been involved in early childhood my whole life, and I’m now working in the sector as an ECEC educator. I love my work but don't believe I will be able to continue my career in this sector as I can barely manage to survive on the wages we receive. We deserve to be paid as professionals and receive the recognition for the job that we do.

  1. I believe that children learn to become competent members of society by having adults directly interacting with them. For this to occur educators need to be given less paperwork to complete so they can focus all their attention on the children. Most of the day we have at least one educator but often more completing paperwork instead of interacting with the children. This leads to more behaviour management issues and children not developing skills as much as they should be.

I have found the NQF is not specific enough and open to lots of different interpretations which cause stress on staff which means they are not providing quality care for children. When assessors come to see centres, their ratings are based a lot on their personal beliefs which make it very hard for educators to know what is expected of them.

I have seen many wonderful child care educators leave the sector as they feel they are expected to be more like office works, constantly documenting everything they do rather than actively engaging with and educating children. To keep quality educators in child care centres there needs to be better pay and less expectations on paperwork



  1. At our centre we are lucky enough to have secured an educator who has a degree in early childhood education. Prior to this we have found it extremely difficult to attract degree trained educators to our centre. I don't blame them, why would you want to come and work in a sector that has very low wages, poor allowances for leave and next to no maternity leave, when you could go and work in the Education system at a school and get paid more and have so much more leave?

For a profession that is dominated by females, I find it extremely frustrating that apart from the government allowance for maternity leave, I will only receive 2 weeks maternity leave from my employer. I completely understand why this is so, we are a relatively small, not-for-profit centre and it would not be viable for the centre to pay for all of us to have maternity leave, but it's just not good enough.

  1. The submission should include professional wages for the position of staff and the work that they do . Staff in Preschool work very hard for little reward. It is time conditions for staff improved. I personally worked in the sector for thirty six years for little reward. But I enjoyed my work and meeting the children each day with their families. What a rewarding profession it is.

  1. I have been working in the child care sector for over 12 months after returning to work following the graduation of my disabled son from home-schooling. I have worked in the education sector as a teacher's assistant for a number of years as well as volunteering as parent helper for my 2 children as they moved through school.

I love my job. I love the women I work with and the children become part of my extended family. My director is fantastic and I work my guts out to make sure I live up to her standards. She is a wonderful boss who looks after her employees very well.

However the pay scales are appalling. I was better off financially on carer's pension with one child then I am working a 37.5 hour week. I am currently studying my diploma but am very wary of completing it because the expectations and are higher and I believe impossible to meet. The increase in pay does not compensate for the additional hours that have to be worked to ensure all the paperwork is completed.



I am seriously looking at working in a different job where the pay rates are better and the conditions more realistic. The only thing that keeps me here right now is my Director.

  1. I am doing the job of an early childhood teacher as we have not been able to employ an appropriately skilled staff member to do that role on a full time basis, as many prefer to stay casual, as they do not need to do any paper work. I have been in the child care sector for over 17 years and have held in the past the position of a working director for three years of a 29 place centre while having 2 young children. I believe someone like me should be eligible to complete my ECT degree while on the job, same as Certificate III, TAFE acknowledged prior learning. As a working mum of two and financially, doing 4 years of assignments or 8 years part time by correspondence does not appeal to me. You want more qualified staff this could be your answer.

  1. An early childhood educators, especially early childhood teacher and group leader has a lot of responsibilities for the quality service and quality education for our young generation. every day not only completed loads of work an non-stop working, even must control unrine because ratio demand but also take lots of work home to be completed.

we are teaching a human being at beginning age and an intelligent human being. everyone knows how important stage at first five years of human being. sincerely hope government to see the importance of this job. we want to have a peaceful society and nice human being to contribute our country. First five years education is a foundation of human being development. reasonable payrise for this industry is necessary! thank you for consideration.

  1. I have been in the child care sector for 37 years and I have seen a massive change over the years. While still at school I worked during school holidays at a privately run centre and a children’s home. Both places were definitely ‘child minding’. We took care of the children insofar as as we changed thir nappies and fed them, but we left them in their cots. There was no stimulation as we were told not to ‘over stimulate’ children. Children over three years of age were only allowed outside for short periods of time, there were no dummies, rockers, swings. Staff were not qualified so anyone could work in child care and we had many who should not have been in the sector at all.

Over the years, thankfully, this all changed and children are encouraged to do what children do but the staff still didn’t have to be qualified and we were still looked at being carers not educators. Dedicated staff who were here for the joy of teaching children life skills, cognitive skills and gross and fine motor skills and we knew already about these skills through experience and researching. These staff members were in a league of their own but role modelling to the new ones coming in was valuable to them as new comers.

In 1991 I decided to do home base caring so that I could be home with my children as they were little and I continued to this with a total of 16chn in my care over the week. In 1999 I gained my Certificate III in children’s services as at this stage I was back in a child care setting and then I was endorsed as a Group Leader by 2003 I had my Diploma and then in 2004 was made a Director of a company then promoted to an Area Manager position for 4 years and since 2010 I am back as a Director. I have a wealth of information of the child care sector and I could imagine that I am one of very few that have been working in this sector for as long as I have. I put this down to the pay that we receive-I have never been able to afford to buy a house as our pay is based on week to week living and the possibility of retirement is so far out of reach it will never happen-I am also a single person so again I don’t have the second income to get to owning a home or early retirement. Now that I am 52 I will never be able to have my own home. I have over the years wanted to change my career to gain more income but the love I have for my job is too high. I have heard that trolley boys earn more than my qualified Certificate III Educators.

These days we are all meant to have qualifications, blue cards, first aid etc, all at the expense of the educator in most centres and these things are a necessity to our jobs. We have regulations, Early Years Learning Framework and the National Quality Standards to adhere to due to the Government Bodies who design them for the education of the children which I totally approve off. I need to understand why these governing bodies have the right to expect us to have all the knowledge to do what we do but don’t want to pay us for the work we do. Yes, we love our jobs and for us to do what we do for the money we get we have to love the job we do. We have all recognised that the children of today are the future of tomorrow but the reason of that being is us as educators. We have children here that would not achieve what they have learnt from home and we are the foundations of making the school transition smoothly. We are now encouraged to have early learning teachers in our centres to start the learning in other ways to assist with the transitions and they get paid accordingly-are we of little value to the government-are we not deserving of a pay increase-if so please tell us why.

I also feel that the name ‘child care centre’ should be changed to ‘early educational centre’ to recognise us as professionals and for what we do with the children along with our pay.

My centre is in a farming community in the Lockyer Valley in Queensland and I am proud of each of us for what we do and our dedication to the early learning of the next generation and I would like the government to also recognise us.


  1. I have worked in childcare over the last 14 years. When I first started, I ran my own family day care. I had two to four children in my care at one time, I had no qualifications (the only qualifications was the love of children), I would start my day at 4:30am and finish at 6pm, sometime I would even have children in my care at night til 2am in the morning just to make ends meet as the pay was only $4 per hour per child.

I did family day care before I had my own children, I thought that when I had my own children I would be able to stay at home with my children educate and spend the first five years with them without having to leave my home for work. My children counted in my ratio’s as I was registered, ( I know many were not and the number of children they cared for was the number they thought they could manage) so it became impossible to continue at home when I had two children, I just could not afford to pay my bills and even at times by groceries.

So I did what I had to do, as I didn’t want to leave the child care sector as this was all I wanted to do since the age of 13. I applied for a job at a centre and was employed. With two children, childcare fees, bills, groceries and a car to pay off. I wasn’t working as long of hours, had better pay, but when I started a mother of two working full time I was on an hourly rate of about $13.

I am now a mother of 3 and hold my Advance diploma in children’s services. My pay rate is still under $25 an hour. I am a Room Educator and the 2IC of a local centre and only receive the pay of a Qualified Diploma in children services. I still work full time and after have my third child I could only afford to stay at home for 4mths. I have had to update my car so yet again I have payments to make, I find that I cannot get ahead.

Times have changed, this is a positive for childcare, better quality for children. We now have to hold qualification, run a program and extend on children’s learning, right reports on the children in our care. This is all brought in by the Australian Government, a Government that wants better education for the children of today, but don’t want to pay the educators for it, how is this fair.



  1. I have worked as a centre coordinator for 10 years, in this time I have seen many quality staff members leave the sector due to pay and stress. They have secured higher paid jobs in fields such as administration with less responsibility.

I feel in the sector we are not recognised for the work we do on a day to day basis to met all the requirements of regulations and education and care.

We are:


  • teachers

  • Nurses

  • mothers

  • fathers

  • role models

  • programmers

  • cleaners

  • IT specialists

  • marketers

  • administrators

  • WHandS officers

  • negotiators

  • social workers

This can be all in one day.

The requirements and expectations are much higher than what they were 10 years ago and the pressures in the sector have escalated. Many staff member suffer from stress due to the expectations and work load.

What we need to make a difference in the sector:

support, training, pay increase to keep staff consistency, additional staff to cover planning time. This would lower the stress levels and keep staff in the sector.

Currently we spend majority of time on staffing and training new staff and this cycle continues due to the lack of interest in the sector.

I am still in the sector as I love my job.



  1. This submission has been put forward by [names] the educators at [locality] Slacks Creek (a small, 41 place, private centre in outer Brisbane). [name1] is a mother of four, a grandmother, an early childhood teacher, as well as the director and owner of this centre, with 35 years’ experience in the field. [name2] is also a mother of three, grandmother and the owner and a qualified educator.

“Every dollar we invest in Early Childhood education can save more than $7 later on- boosting graduation rates, reducing teen pregnancy, even reducing incidents of violent crime.” Barack Obama

- Many intelligent people have been saying similar things, for many, many, many years. This is simply common sense. Now it is not only becoming a joke, but an insult, that our government is not responding to its duty of care to its youngest citizens , the potential future leaders of the world, and to those who teach and care for them.

- The newly proposed government policy is steeped in economic justification with no trace of concern for real early childhood education and the wellbeing of each child and family - those individuals who weave the fabric of this country. When in reality to ignore a plan for a strong, quality and caring early education for our children IS to ignore long term economic strength and growth. How dumb and uncaring can they be?

- It is high time the government realises that the majority of the population (the people that vote) not only know and understand what Obama has said but expect that our government knows and understands it as well. They expect that our government take right action, put the right , fair and just amount of investment into child care.

- We feel insulted and patronised that, when once we were at least on the road to quality (The new NQF wasn’t perfect yet), we are now taking major and dangerous leaps backwards. And we would like to remind the commission that quality early childhood care and education begins with quality educators and the very least the government could do is to simply fund early childhood inservice and external training and professional development. The quality of the training courses themselves is a mix mash of “quickly get them trained because we’re short staffed” and “I couldn’t get into uni, so I’ll just do childcare” and “sorry this Advanced Diploma that you have half completed and paid has been discontinued”. So many of the best child care educators gained that expertise through the mentorship of the more experienced and qualified educators in their workplace. This takes time and money, when staff have to be replaced to consistently maintain ratios.

- Early childhood educators have had no voice, parents and their children have no voice, and even when we shout, those that have that power to change and improve things don’t listen.

Another very important issue that the commission should be aware of is the ‘great divide’ in public opinion between privately owned/for profit child care centres and not for profit/ community centres. This is also appalling, and an insult to every private centre owner and every educator who works in a private centre and every ounce of care, love and unpaid time we have put into our little private centre ( as owners, licensees, Kindergarten Teacher, Educational supervisor, Administrator, bookkeeper. In fact being called a ‘for profit’ centre is a joke, as we put every dollar of ‘profit’ into improving our quality; sending our educators to workshops and professional development training, purchasing resources, and becoming as eco-sustainable as possible. We’ve spent thousands of dollars trying to educate our educators around the new National Quality Guidelines and new curriculums, ( the few ‘FREE workshops put on by ACECQA were booked out within days, and even though the demand was obvious, no extra workshops were offered. It also costs thousands of dollars to pay our educators for their study time, programing and documenting time, and thousands more for the relief staff to replace them. We spend thousands of dollars paying the wages of extra support educators so as we never refuse care for children with special needs. It took approx. 8 hours of administrative time to complete an application for special needs support funding, only to receive it 10 weeks after the child had started attending, not back dated, and even then less than half of the support teacher’s wage is covered, ie. $16.50 per hour, and only for 5 hour per day. The child attends 2 days per week and attends 8 hours each day. We employ an extra carer for the whole 8 hours at 22.50 per hour.

And PLEASE don’t think for a moment that increasing the child to staff ratio or reducing the qualification standards will create more affordable or flexible childcare – it won’t! It will simply create an sector in which staff will enter with little expertise or qualifications and leave more quickly, stressed, poor and burnt out, and centres with high staff turnover are much less capable of providing any care much less affordable or flexible, or heaven forbid – quality care!


Someone who has the power the change things must soon realise that the country’s childcare educators are stressed, and need more support, both financial and professional. But this load cannot be burdened or sustained by the child care centres and families alone. We implore that all governments, local, state and federal, address the inequalities around funding and professionalism in the sector: And we are suggesting that the only way this can be done fairly and ethically is for government representatives to educate and familiarise themselves with every part of the sector, and their financial and professional burden, e.g. single centre privately owned centres, (as we are); multi centres privately owned; community centres, private school-based centres; family day care; corporate multi-site centres, as each of these have very different demands and support needs.

We appreciate the opportunity to put forward our views through this submission and look forward to a favourable outcome.



  1. I would also like to suggest that we need to utilise educators like me who have bben in the sector for over 17 years. I hold a diploma, have have been a director. Due to the lack of ECT's we need to support people like me and encourage us to do our degree based on prior and practical experieces, just like TAFE did to encourage the CCC workers to obtain thier Diploma. WE have not been able to employ a ECT on a afull time basis, we have had many wonderful casual workers that are happy to stay as casuals as they are on a much higher wage and have alot less paper work to complete, especially the elders ECTs who are full of wonderful ideas, fantastic with the children, but unfortunately many find the new way very complex and the amount of doccementaion takes up to much time and some are not so good with todays technology and would be taking far more work home than usual to complete or even obtain assistance from their children to complete the work asked of them. I would be interested in completing my ECT if my prior learning and extensive experience was taken into consideration, so It would not take me 8 yrs part time to complete my degree. Utilise what we have in the workforce to fill many ECT positions that we so desperately need. Consistancy of care.

  1. How do you expect to know about childcare with very little or no knowledge about what actually occurs day to day?

after working in childcare for 24 years i find myself ready to leave the sector due to the inconsistency with all governments plans and approaches.

i have completed 3 years of training and I am am currently on $23.14 per hour and although i am a competent worker with years of experiences across all age groups, I find it difficult to accept the paper work that is required to complete on daily basis. For example



  • on commencement fill out form to check the boundaries whilst caring for children

  • then care for children, meet and greet parents

  • try and have a paid morning tea break which is not always allowed as the children come first [sorry what about the workers and their needs]

  • write [that is hand write write daily information for parents] and find time to print out pictures for parents]

  • observe and record children’s development

  • prepare journals with photos, hand written learning stories, including E.Y.L.F. outcomes, philosophy’s, NQF linking, reflections – no time

  • whilst engaging with children

  • 2 hours programming is given each week to record these observations with pictures for the parents

  • many parents will miss out on this information due to the time commitment

  • there is no other time to complete paper work except to work within your own personal time

  • come and work with me and see what actually occurs daily.

  • then prior to children going outside play another playground check and another form to complete on completion of shift - this usually occurs after my finishing time – also check to make sure all parent sign in sheets are complete and if not I must complete these forms in each room before checking the centre is secure before actually leaving for the day quality care no longer exists

Cost

The Coalition’s Policy for Better Child Care and Early Learning will commit $2 million for the Productivity Commission to perform a major review of child care and to conclude this review within 12 months.



The Coalition will also restore the $12.6 million of funding cuts carried out by Labor to Occasional Child Care. This restoration will be fully in place from 2014-15.

  • is your government crazy?

  • what about the educators

  • the government has lost sight of what childcare was established for.

  • look back in history to note that childcare was for working parents and the hours that were needed for them

  • this what educators are looking for in the immediate future

  • lower numbers for quality care

  • recognise our study status

  • train directors efficiently to understand the pressures of educators

  • educators are paid low wages as they are indirectly supporting childcare cost - this has to stop and we want to be valued as educators not baby sitters

  • remove ECT’s from our sector as they they have been trained to boost the children’s academia but does not accommodate the children’s basic needs [many primary teacher’s have concerns about the children entering the school systems who have very little skills to start prep year]

  • put ECT’s in the school grounds to accommodate their needs for them to progress into the year

  • TAFE training of educators have been doing this work, and have much better results, especially with behaviour management. why waste the ECT’s education in this sector.

  • parents are only after a place to leave their children whilst at work/study such as yourself when you were completing your Masters. the life experiences of the educators plays a better role with children who educate the children with skills that supersede the qualities of ECT’s

  • can’t buy a holden car as my wages pay for my mortgage which hold more importance to me [roof over my head]

  • no respect for the educator’s come on sussan get with the program and exchange your weekly wage for mine and i will be able to buy an new Holden car in just week and support the sector that your government doesn’t want to.

  • trying doing a yearly educator’s tax return

  • low wages and living – you are so far removed from low wages with your education – what would you be doiing now if you were not assistant education minister – i guarantee you would be on a much lower income working with your study

  • you are ignorant – supervision – try and supervise large number of children whilst engaging

  • perhaps you can give suggestions how to supervise or try it yourself one day

  • where is your respect for the sector – you should be removed from your position with comments you are making - you have no idea how little we are paid [ i am talking about the educators that have not been paid the $3.00 or $6.00 increase] i am talking about the base rate for child care sector

  • qantas - come on do you really think we can afford a mortgage, new Holden car and a Qantas plane ride. you have idea of reality

  • sussan do you really think we are just baby sitters!!!!!!!!

  • get out into the sector and see what really happens and do not attend private centre’s who not only charge the parents BUT GIVE their for staff [the Directors] to have bonus – they are only a front person and do not do any work with children but expect the educators to complete all their tasks no matter what. [especially when they are on facebook most the day or receiving private calls] which educators are not permitted.

  • technology- we are still in draconian ages where hand writing was acceptable.

  • sustainability – is a large part of E.Y.L.F. – do you realise this has been occurring in childcare centres for years and i am talking about 20 years. parents help keep cost down by donating appropriate toys, recycling old household equipment, collage materials, plants for gardens time

  • you and your minister for education need to look at where childcare is heading and if you are smart enough so you think, do the right thing by the educators who are keeping this sector going.

  • alternative – shut down all childcare centre’s and head back into the past where mother’s remained at home\ teaching their own children basic life skills which they no longer possess

  1. I am a very passionate early childhood educator and currently trying to complete my Certificate III. When I said trying, I really mean I am budgeting, paying bills, rent, food and paying for my own TAFE fees. But it has taken me two and a half years to complete a 6 month course, because I CANNOT AFFORD IT! My pay is crap yet I put in 110% in every morning I walk through the gate I am energised, enthusiatic and empowered when I look at children's faces to give them a brighter future. When people ask me what I do and give me that 'OH' reply, my heart drops! But my blood still pumps because I am here for the children, not just their noses but for their physical, mental and social development.

  1. As an early childhood educator in a community centre in Canberra I would like to write about the work environment for educators and the current Early Years Learning Framework.

I hold my diploma in children's services and have almost completed my bachelors of Early Childhood Education. The childcare service I have been working with for four years now has already been accredited and received outstanding in two quality areas and meeting the national standard in 5 quality areas. I was the educational leader at the centre during that time. The setting is Lyons Children's Centre and is part of an Early Childhood School model. The school is only a few years old however during my time in this setting I can confidently say that this is a fabulous model and should be introduced across the country.

It is currently mandatory to hold a qualification in children’s services or be studying and working towards a qualification in children’s services to work in a childcare setting. I strongly believe that this should not change. In my setting I am a room leader and throughout the year I am asked to supervise students who are on their prac placements in my room. I have observed that the depth of understanding from child development theory and practical experience is necessary for an educator to deliver a quality program. This cannot be overlooked. In my current team in our Nursery room we have three diploma holders and one person studying to complete her diploma and each of us has worked in our current childcare setting for 2-6 years. I have never worked in a more rewarding work environment. We are able to deliver a high quality program to the Lyons community and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

I am concerned that if the requirement to hold a qualification for children’s services is waived the quality of the childcare program with diminish dramatically.

It is common knowledge that educators are not paid a professional wage despite being professionals in our field. This has been acknowledged and accepted by childcare educators since we first began working in children’s services because “That’s just the way it is”. However despite it being so it is completely unacceptable. Parents and people in the community express outrage on a daily basis to us, usually following feedback on the good work we do. The work we do is challenging. It is rewarding but let it not be dismissed that it is challenging. We study hard to receive the qualifications required to work in this field and yet we still are not being paid a professional wage. This has been overlooked and ignored by the Coalition government completely and it is deeply regrettable. It is due to so many hard working educators in childcare that everyone else in society is able to be a part of the country’s workforce. By looking after and supporting our country’s children we enable each of you to work. Why are we being portrayed by the Coalition government as unimportant?

The current Early Years Learning Framework is working extremely well in our childcare setting. It is a document that enables educators to look at the whole child, and supports understanding of child development. It can be applied across all of early childhood to infants to eight year olds, and assists educators in tracking the child’s emotional, cognitive and physical growth and development. We love working with this document and do not want it to change.


  1. RESPECT is something that is taught through observance and consistency in consequences when rules are broken. Though the new standards raise the bar in many aspects of care they do not cater for instilling realistic boundaries with children. Rules and routines are great for children but fail if their is no consequences but boundaries are constantly being extended. Children require boundaries to be firm so they can push against only to be pushed back into place when the moment requires it. How can any child grow up to expect any ‘authority’ figure if they know that they can undermine the ‘authority’ at any time with a tear or tantrum!!!! Childcare is important and so is a future where children are respectful and understand that important universal laws and rules are not simply guidelines to work their way around but something that helps protect us as individuals, a whole community, society and Nation. The feeling of balance and security breeds happier more focused people.

  1. I have worked in the early childhood sector for 10 years. During this period I practiced full-time whilst becoming degree qualified. I have seen solid changes in a decade. When I started I worked for a profit service that advocated we were care only and children didn’t learn until school, so there was no reason to purchase resources other than what was absolutely necessary – this meant I ended up paying for teaching resources.

Significant changes in a decade relate to the quality of educators, in the early days many educators had a ‘whatever’ approach to working with children, but now they are professional, well qualified and recognize and respect the powerful role they play in shaping young children’s (and families) worlds for the better. I think this change can be credited to working in not-for-profit services only (with evidence based approaches to practice, and an understanding children learn from birth and therefore early childhood is a critical time to establish habits for life) and to the introduction of Australia’s Early Years Curriculum Frameworks and National Quality Standards.

These detailed guidelines have encouraged educators to be thoughtful and have given the sector some of the professional recognition it deserves, which altered identities of those working in the sector; from childcare workers to early childhood educators. With this new title came professional responsibility, accountability and the need to act according to what communities want for children – educators could no longer just do whatever they liked. In my experience these changes have worked to enable higher quality early childhood experiences for young children and their families – that are of great value for children’s learning and development.

The previous federal Government recognized what science says about early childhood and funded the sector to build its professional image and capacity. Not-for-profit groups such as Early Childhood Australia played an important role in empowering educators to build their professional competence – these NGOs should not lose any funding, as they have played a leading role in helping educators achieve better outcomes for children – particularly through resources such as newsletters and social media.

There has been a lot of buzz in the media about childcare being too expensive. Our EC service’s out of pocket cost per day is $50. A child could potentially attend 12 hours for just $50, which is minimal, compared to babysitting, which costs around $23 an hour; it seems like a small price to pay for children to gain so much. Our service has high educator/child ratios, well beyond what is required legally, and we easily survive on this daily income, which families tell us is minimal compared to other services. Difficulty assists when services need to make profit, and as experienced at these services, the children loose out as do educators who receive minimum wage. If the current Government is truly worried about ‘inequity’ - its reason for abandoning the Early Years Quality Fund - it should lead a move away from early childhood being for profit and low pay.

The service I work for is committed to and supports raising the qualifications of educators, high ratios and professional practice that is evidence based and constantly improving. The pay off here for families is enormous, firstly the program fits the child and family, as educators spend time establishing partnerships with families, higher qualifications mean learning experiences go deeper with children - evidence shows this can increase future IQ scores.

My workplace is highly supportive and recognizes the value of my own and colleagues teaching role. We are helped to further our skills and identity professionally and this means better outcomes for children. I think it’s important that Governments recognize and support all educators to become highly qualified. In some areas of the world with exceptional early childhood education, educators must have a degree to work with young children, just like Australian schools– this would be so valuable for children. I know from experience, higher qualified educators take children further in the learning experience, because they have the professional capacity, or knowledge of teaching practice that can only be learnt from wide reading, study and a commitment to becoming a better teacher through learning all there is know.

The last thing I would like to add has to do with conditions and status. I admit that becoming degree qualified and working for a service that ensures fairness, I am paid ok. But compared to teachers working in schools, my pay is uninspiring and certainly not a professional wage that can permit me the quality of life that other professionals have.

Finally the Government is evidently focused on ensuring childcare is affordable so women with children can participate in the work force. To maintain affordability the Government seems intent on keeping the cost of wages low – 85% of service running costs. My problem is, why should one group of people (childcare educators) have to suffer (with less pay) so another group of people can have it all! It seems unfair and biased to decide that the pay and conditions of what has been a traditionally female unskilled workforce should remain low so women in another demographic can participate in economic life and become prosperous. For me there is a glitch in reality, as the evidence indisputably says my profession is essential, yet society doesn’t recognize my value nor does it bestow my colleagues and myself the status and conditions we unmistakably disserve. The problem is ‘values’, will the Government do the right thing and choose to fairly fund the early childhood sector, or will it decide one group is more valuable and deserving of support than another. In my view educators should be fairly remunerated, as this will enable the sector to attach and maintain a highly quality workforce. One that is committed to a high level of professionalism, that will ensure all Australian children have a future they are rightly entitled and one that is good for the nation.



  1. The cost of childcare has risen in NSW due to the change in ratio from 1:5 to 1:4. Educators in the Family Day Care sector have been financially disadvantaged in the reduction of ratio numbers. This 20% cut to their income has been reflected in higher child care fees. Even at the new fee amounts it is impossible to recover financially from the loss of income. The Government did not take this fully into account when making the ratio change. The Government has caused the fees to increase due to change in their policy in NSW. If the ratio change in NSW was reversed to the previous 1:5 ratio then FDC Educators could lower their fees again and make childcare more affordable for families in NSW.

  1. My submission reflects on the fact that I've worked in the child care industry for many years. A large amount of this time includes working as a centre director and trainer & assessor. During this time I have seen a rapid decline in the positive aspects of working in this industry. I put it to you that is highly due to the consistent government interference. This includes:

The government insisting that we employ registered teachers. This has in turn had a massive negative impact on the childcare industry as a whole. It is near impossible for centre's to employ teachers that are capable and possess the skills necessary to work in the childcare industry. Working in the childcare industry requires a great deal of empathy and understanding of the children in the ages groups of birth - six years. I have discovered through my experiences of hiring teachers and also by networking with other childcare centre's in the community, is that simply teachers do not possess these skills.

Teachers do not treat childcare workers with mutual respect. During their initial interviews for employment in childcare, they state that they understand they are equal and not above childcare workers, however this is proven repeatedly throughout their employment that they are condescending and lack the basic skills of mutual respect and teamwork. This in turn effects the entire team of staff, and results in turmoil and constant grievance reports.

Did the government stop to think, of how existing childcare educators (who were already doing an exceptional job of educating children) felt, when suddenly employers were forced to hire teachers? Brilliant childcare educators had to be moved from their classrooms to make way for Teachers. Teachers who can't even teach childcare.

Offering teachers the Bridging Program to complete the Diploma is nothing short of disastrous. I have had a teacher here that failed the Certificate III of Children's Services. WHY WEREN'T CURRENT CHILDCARE EDUCATORS GIVEN A 12 MONTH BRIDGING PROGRAM TO COMPLETE THE BACHERLOR OF EARLY CHILDHOOD???? That would have made much more sense and my childcare educators and also myself would have embraced the opportunity. I am positive childcare educators across the broader spectrum would also do the same. This would resolve the issue and constant problem of hiring, up skilling and retaining teachers.

Teachers have no hesitation in threatening childcare directors they will leave if their demands aren't met so the centre will loose their Kindergarten funding. This is nothing short of blackmail!!!

This would resolve the issue and constant problem of hiring, up skilling and retaining teachers. Why is the government being allowed to be BIAS and to DISCRIMINATE against existing childcare educators? Why haven’t we been provided with the same bridging programs as teachers? It leaves childcare educators with no option but to believe the government does not respect existing childcare workers and the skills and experience they provide to the childcare industry. It leaves you to contemplate as to whether the government is attempting to take over the rights and freedom of existing childcare educators and push us all out of the childcare industry, to make room for government choices, such as teachers.

Why has the government interfered with current childcare Tafe qualifications? Certificate 111 of Children's Services and the Diploma of Children's Services course contents have been downsized to the extent that when a newly qualified childcare worker enters the workforce, they most certainly do not possess even the basic knowledge of working in the childcare industry requirements. While I respect that life experience plays a large role in the childcare industry, surely ensuring that Tafe course contents are adequate is important to the health and safety of children?? The standard of childcare workers has dropped immensely in the past several years. I believe this is due to government interference.

Existing childcare workers, that are highly qualified are leave the industry in droves. This is highly due to the government constantly interfering and changing the industry to suit themselves. EXISTING CHILDCARE WORKERS SOULD BE GIVEN CONSULTATION AND GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO VOTE IN PREFERENCE OF FOR AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT PROPOSED CHANGES, BEFORE THE GOVERNMENT MAKES A DECISION. ISN’T AUSTRALIA SUPPOSED TO BE A DEMOCRACY?? The government does not bother to speak with existing qualified childcare workers to see what currently works and what doesn’t, before implementing changes that significantly and negatively impact on the industry. Yet again, in time, we, the childcare workers will be left to clean up the governments mess and the mistakes the government has made. In the meantime children, their families and the workers of the childcare industry will continue to be treated with disregard and discriminated against by the government.

In the meantime, as a highly qualified, experienced childcare director and trainer and assessor, I am left to contemplate as to whether it is worthwhile that I will continue to work in the childcare industry, or whether it is now time to leave this type of employment and peruse other employment options. I assure you that the only reason I work in the childcare industry is because I believe in the value of making a positive difference to the lives and learning of the children in my care. However, each day as the government continues to interfere and be bias and discriminates against my industry, it makes me contemplate my future as a childcare worker.


  1. We need more support for families to care for their preschool children at home or within ‘normal’ working hours - children need to have a home, not be raised in an early childhood service - if more flexibility means children sleeping at a service overnight, then you are sacrificing the child's wellbeing and development for family convenience. Govts need to support family friendly workplaces. Please don't burden services with more administration, documentation, ‘quality’ planning to justify our existence - staff are leaving, burnt out, by the extra demands of the new system.

  1. I believe that to improve the quality of care and the benefits of outcomes to children and families...

* that ratios and qualifications be introduced in NSW for the OOSH sector

* that more funding including 100% CCB (not the current 85%) be given to families for OSHC care to help with the cost of care and for centres providing quality care

* that parents be encouraged to make choices about the best OSHC care for their children and family (not just default to the nearest OSHC centre) like parents do for the early childhood care

* more OSHC services both on school sites and off school sites to give parents options

* funding to assist with transport to OSHC eg bus passes being able to be used for children to get to and from care and school

* transition to schools programs and transition to OSHC programs be implemented so consistency of care across all services to provide continuity of care to the children and families

* the implementation of the NQF has improved the quality of care particularly in OSHC in NSW and sees centres implementing innovative ideas to provide the best service

* the NQF has ensured that ALL education and Care services are seen as equally important in the care, education and development of children and in supporting families in the care of their children

* that support to services for the inclusion of children with additional needs be increased as this benefits both the child and families with the disability but also other families and children in being more understanding and accepting of people with differences

* ease of red tape to change elements of service (eg operating hours to reflect individual needs of the community, application to increase numbers etc



  1. There is an immense amount of research supporting the Early Years being fundamental in an individual's development. Considering this the role of Early Childhood Educators is critical to model and educate the future of our young Australians.

Making changes to the reforms outlined in the National Quality Framework in relation to ratios and qualifications will only lead to a decrease in the level of quality which Australia has been striving to achieve. The reality of this will only see further issues arise while also seeing yet another Government's failure as more money is literally poured down the drain, having been wasted on failed promises.

I fear that the message being communicated with families in relation to opening childcare facilities for longer hours or even over nights stays will result in the abuse of these services as well as having a further ill effect on the level of professionalism within the field.

Developing our professional image is something we have been working towards achieving.

Also in regards to opening service for longer hours will see a decrease in quality of care and education provided, seeing these services become a 'baby sitting service' rather than a quality educational setting.

The field of Early Childhood Care and Education is important. Investing in, respecting and further developing Early Childhood Education in Australia is critical for all Australian to move forward, creating a better nation and in turn contributing to a better world.


  1. As the owner of a nanny agency and as a professional nanny who has worked in all areas of child care for over sixteen years, I see the need for families to have a choice of child care that best suits the families needs not every child is suited to a child care centre environment. And unfortunately the standards of child care centers in Australia are not the greatest with most child care centers like a production line not a place to nurture and education the leaders of the future, the staff do the very best they can but with very low pay rates and education it is not environment that promotes high standers (would you Tony Abbott work for less then $25 a hour as a experienced, qualified child care worker???)

For families who would like the option to have a nanny because they feel it would best suit their needs because of work commitments or who would simply like to have their children in a home environment with an experienced nanny because to them they feel the most comfortable with having the option of a nanny but then find out that there is a very small rebate to have a nanny compered to having their children in a child care centre and are forced to put their children into a child care centre because they are not able to afford to have a nanny.

Lets look after our working families in Australia and give them a choice.

It is hard enough to be a working parent with out the added pressures of having your children in an environment you know as a parent your child is not happy in.

Tony Abbott be the first prime minister of Australia to value our young children, families and the educators of early childhood



  1. Families in our community lead vastly different lives and have many different experiences. For example, there are families whose members work part time or perform shift work, who study, who need respite and support because of medical or mental-health based issues, who require care only during school hours, or who need care because they are new to the community.

As a service that has offered both occasional and long day care, we have seen the way in which different services are able to meet needs of the community. We believe that there is a great need for flexible approaches to early childhood service operations that consistently offer parents quality care and education, but are also designed with reference to the best interests of the children, families and the community – in both the short term and the long term. We are concerned by advocates of the Swedish system who suggest Australian child care should also be available 24 hours, 7 days a week without acknowledging the profound social impact that this type of care has had on families and children due to the length of time that children are spending apart from their families in the early years.

We are concerned about the effectiveness of a quality assurance system that depends heavily upon the quality of written submissions and an assessment during an announced, planned visit and which is open to the possibility that centres are able to mobilise resources to achieve an outcome that is not truly reflective of their day to day operations. We are also concerned about the stress that the system places on staff and centres to achieve a favourable rating under this system and question whether the benefits of awarding particular ratings are of value to families and outweigh their cost to the industry in terms of staff retention and turnover. In our opinion, rather than focus on detailed aspects of quality to rate centres in isolated visits – potentially years apart - a more accurate assessment of quality would be provided through regular spot-checks that target adherence to the regulations.



  1. Current EYLF program was mooted to reduce the paperwork which was required earlier but it appears to have increased that instead.

Especially small Child Care Centres do not have the luxury of having a lot of staff who could be solely doing the paperwork. One has to choose between providing proper learning and care for children or doing paperwork to satisfy regulatory requirements and as a result children suffer.

The requirement to have Early Child Hood Teachers is laughable in child care centres for pre-schoolers who are learning through fun and not according to a syllabus, which is done at the primary/public schools.

Due to stringent qualification/ documentation requirements carers are leaving in droves from Family Day Care Schemes and even child care centres.

One has to realise that not all children attend daycare but are raised at homes by their parents/grandparents. What about their care and education? Are you imposing these requirements on such parents as well? Also some children attend day care for 1-2 days a week unlike in primary schools which is the great leveller where all children can be taught similarly.

By advancing such learning to day care we are creating a 2-tier system in primary schools at entry level, which is unfair/stressful to young children. This will lead to loss of self esteem as they will find some children who have learned more and will think they are inferior.

We believe policy makes are divorced from reality and creating these requirements albeit with good intentions which are actually detrimental to children.



  1. A big problem we face is the influx of workers from other countries who cannot speak or write English at all well. It doesn't seem to matter how bad the standard - they still manage to obtain Certificate 3 and Diplomas. Many many Childcare Centre owners exploit vulnerable educators by refusing them morning and afternoon tea breaks even though it is in the regulations that workers are entitled to them and in fact need them as working with children is demanding. Our wages are a joke but for the fact it long ago ceased to be funny. And why is it that schools employ proper cleaners but childcare centres get the cleaning done any old which way - in many cases educators have to sweep and mop around sleeping children during rest time.

  1. I work in family day care & care for children of working parents & business owners. I have built my service up based on the fact that they can change their booked hours to accommodate their needs at any time. With the changing of the ratios this year I have been forced to turn away parents as I cannot accommodate them forcing 1 parent to have to wait till 2015 before getting care for her child & the grandmother having to quit work to look after the child in the meantime as she only wishes to use my service. ‘If’ the ratios remained the same I would have been able to help this parent plus 2 others with care. I also have lost over $12600 pa in wages as a result of the change but refused to put my fees up to compensate as being in a low socio economic area even the working parents are struggling to pay fees. The government needs to stop subsidising the non working parent & give more to the working ones. I have cared for children of non working parents & they fail to show up for care weeks at a time, they don't care they are not paying for it or if they were it might only be less than $2.00 a day & even then you were lucky if you got that. I now have a policy of caring for children of working families only as I believe they are the ones who need the care, though I do acknowledge there are some non working families who do require care for various reasons such as respite etc.

My other complaint is the paperwork family day educators have to do. We are only 1 person we don't get lunchbreaks or releaved like in centres to do this & find myself up till late in the night completing this & taking away from my family. Yes I chose this job but in all jobs there are work between hrs. Cut down some of the paperwork please that we as educators are doing.

Also why not separate Family Day Care from the regulations & give us our own to work by instead?



  1. Please don't just consider issues relating to cost of early childhood education and care and how do we support parents get back into the workplace.? Think about the issues with the child's welfare at the forefront. Research has shown that the first 5 years of a child's life are so important in terms of brain development and social and emotional wellbeing. What occurs during these 5 years affects their whole lives. Having qualified staff with high child to staff ratios are so important. I have worked in the industry for 14 years and am a mother myself. I have seen wonderful services with high quality practices and services where I have felt shocked and saddened at how children are being treated. All children should be able to access high quality services. Without a doubt non profit community based services provide the highest quality. They are not concerned with making a profit. Many private services are focused on making a profit at the expense of children and staff. Please don't forget the staff either. We do a very difficult and demanding job for low pay. When I finished my early childhood degree my award wage was $25 an hour. I already had 12 years experience in industry. My son works at Subway and gets $15 an hour. The job is not just babysitting we are assessing children's development and are often the first ones to raise with parents concerns that their child may need intervention. This is a very difficult thing to do and requires as to be competent in understanding children's development and the wide ranges of what is typical and atypical development. We integrate children with special needs into our groups enabling this children to have the best chance of flourishing and provide support and friendship to these families. We need more government funding for services. You support schools and provide funding why not early childhood services. You pay school teachers wages in government schools why not fund teachers wages in early childhood services.

  1. Submission feedback for Productivity Inquiry into Early Childhood Education

To establish more flexible, affordable and accessible child care and early childhood learning the below are some points to consider:

It is important to highlight the circumstances of not only the families but also the communities of which children belong to as part of the investigation of the productivity inquiry.

Difficulty accessing suitable care and factors that influence use of ECEC and affordability

The Fairfield area has a 9.7% rate of unemployment. This impacts upon the waiting list requirements and priorities within our waiting list policy. For families that are unemployed, they do not have the same priority of access as families who are working. Therefore children who are from these families are somewhat disadvantaged by not having access to high quality education and care due to their family’s socio-economic status.

Make informed assessment of the Quality of different ECEC services

With the introduction of the National registry, families are able to look into the results of a service. More campaigning needs to occur around this register, to ensure families understand this is a great opportunity for them to learn about services. At this stage it is widely promoted to the Early Childhood sector, but this affects families just as much.

My child website which displays vacancies needs to be promoted also. So many positions within FCC services but unfortunately vacancies still exist. This could be due to a range of reasons including lack of services or getting from childcare to work if needing to catch public transport.

High Quality education and care must continue along the path of the NQF in order to promote high quality educations and care, value and recognition for the Early childhood industry.

Access/flexibility/cost/quality preventing families to work or study

Looking at the SEIFA index for our local area in particular, Fairfield’s index is 854.0 on the SEIFA index of disadvantage compared to other areas such as Leichardt with a score of 1078.9. The higher the index the lower the disadvantage, the lower the index the higher the disadvantage. This proves that the area of Fairfield is indeed disadvantaged in the areas of low income, low education levels with high rates of unemployment.

For low income earners the cost of childcare is substantial. Considering these low income earners may not receive the 50% rebate. Unfortunately some families who care for others do not have the ability to find a job and work so easily, in turn affecting their opportunities to access childcare such as priority of access.

Support for families/Children with additional needs

More funding for children with additional needs similar to that of FACSIA funding. Fee reduction for Pre schools is a common thing but more emphasis on fee reduction in long day care rather then increase each year would benefit families, especially in our local area.

Access to Preschool comments

More research and promotion needs to go into the preschool curriculum offered in Long Day Care services. Families often opt for Preschool because they feel the fees are lower and the program is more “structured” to prepare their children for school. This often affects utilisation in LDC and the children may not be provided with the same opportunities for holistic health in terms of nutritional meals being provided and rest periods throughout the day.

It would be greatly valuable if Local Governments took an active role in lobbying State and Federal Governments for funding to promote the financial sustainability of the Early Childhood sector. In addition fee reduction for long day care similar to that of Preschools.

Further comments

Early Childhood teachers should be provided with the same working conditions as Primary school teachers in order to retain highly skilled and professional educators within the sector.

AEDI poor results should then be the basis of funding to empower families not only the service. Most importantly in Fairfield, where families have low educational backgrounds. It is important to note that AEDI results show children are not yet ready for school but families choose the cheaper option of formal schooling due to their financial status.

References

http://profile.id.com.au/fairfield/employment-status

http://profile.id.com.au/fairfield/seifa-disadvantage?es=1



  1. Points:

Why does NSW Regulations not fall in-line with other states ie - ECT Ratios.

Fees can be reduces by; Exempting centres from; Payroll Tax, Land Rates, Reducing the number of ECT's.

Childcare Centres/Pre-School should be owned and operated by Teachers not accountants, solicitors, etc.

ACEQA stop charging centres for Wavers and other associated costs.

Childcare Fees are high due to All Governments Gouging the early childhood sector.


  1. As a coordinator of over 20 years and Tafe teacher for 10 I have seem much change across the early childhood sector, most of it good.

Seeing educators with cert III qualification and seeing how this has influenced their practice and understanding of individual children is rewarding for the child, family educator and the community. Our future citizens.

My greatest concern is the lack of monitoring and support visits required under legislation to Family Day Care educator homes. By nature of the job educators spend many hours alone with children and without another adult to share ideas, reflect on practice, problem solve and be recharged. At times on site support is required when working closely with a diverse range of families.

From a compliance perspective and a safety perspective an annual visit by a service provider to an educators home allows for many potential (I would say- unacceptably high risk) activities to occur over a long period time unnoticed and unchecked.

I would not like to look back in 20 years and see a royal commission into systemic child abuse that was allowed to fester and grow and go unchecked because of a lack of compliance and support monitoring allowed by legislation and implemented by services as they find innovative ways to cut administration cost.

There is a growing gap throughout the family day care sector in service delivery. Families are largely unaware that the security and safety and trust they have placed in family day as a whole sector should now come with caution and questioning. The national logo is no longer a sign of security in the sector. It is a case of buyer beware!


  1. There is no evidence to support 2 recent NQF changes that have both reduced places and increased the cost of childcare, viz:

Mandating the employment of university ECT graduates over TAFE Diplomas (refer to 2013 University of Melbourne research that show no difference in outcome for children) and reducing the number of children 3-5 from 1:15 to 1:11 (refer to the same Melbourne University report and any number of reports that prove reducing class sizes has done nothing of value of educational outcomes anywhere in the world.

The ‘failing’ of centres by giving them ‘Working Towards’ because they failed a small part of one of 58 parts of an assessment is both demeaning, demoralising to staff and incomprehensible to parents.

To take more than 1000 days since the last assessment by NCAC officers and then to take 6.6 years to make a return visit under NQF is an absurdity, to say nothing of the cost in staff time and concern. This is a form of bureaucratic madness.

Improving the quality of outcomes for children can and should be done by having experts attend to teach and encourage centre staff, not give them a ‘fail’ mark when they are near perfect in every relevant sense.



  1. As a childcare provider I would to comment on funding to long day care services with recent changes of regulations and with changes to pay awards made by the prior government fees had to rise this is the consequence of no increase from government subsidies . As we provide a service in a small country town incomes are low and therefore cannot pass on fee rises like larger towns and cities. the NSW government has recently changed its funding model to preschools to give more funding to parents in rural remote areas making them more affordable, this is a area that the federal government should look at especially if they want parents to work and if childcare centres are to survive

As a childcare worker I would like to comment on childcare qualifications I have worked in excess of 18 years in a long day care service showing a strong commitment to the industry I feel with all my knowledge attained over these years is worthy and should be rewarded by exempting workers such as my self from having to gain a certificate 3 qualification as I am under the instruction of a qualified supervisor , given what I have seen over these years experience far outways a piece of paper with little or no experience.

As a service provider for the past 18 years I would like to voice my thoughts regarding the future for childcare, as we are aware childcare fees have risen significantly as a direct result of the previous governments regulation changes such as wages for more qualified staff and staff training and more redtape regarding accountability approximately 500 pages, when these new regulations were implemented funding was not increased so as a direct result we are now seeing the impact on childcare affordability significantly so in rural and regional services , this will surely test these services viability in the near future if changes are not made to the current model witch we now have to operate under.



  1. I have worked in a rural , remote and isolated community in a pre school for 16 years.

I also work in the local high school, with children at risk and with learning difficulties.

In my experience I have observed the power of positive partnerships with families and children being at the center of a successful journey through the education system.

I follow the Reggio Emilia approach , that is personalised and builds on achievement in discovering the individual talents in each child. Putting children in an environment where they want to learn and can discover their true passion. This approach has been proven hugely successful to me and ongoing through to high school leavers.

I have spent many years sitting in classrooms with children assisting them with their literacy and numeracy and have realised that the education systems we are now using is detrimental to a large percentage of students. Children are disengaged, behaviours are becoming more difficult for teachers to manage. I see how difficult it is for students to sit all day in classrooms, trying to focus on learning . Mentoring in school systems has been a positive experience for me , i have facilitated two mentoring programs with teenage girls at risk , these programs have created positive relations between the parents , students , mentor and the school. The students feedback has been touching as one student on suicide watch told me that it changed her life. These students respond immediately to this type of program and mentors can model and support positive behavior and attitudes to these children that are in desperate need of an adult in their life that is safe , supportive and invests in them



  1. Make early childhood education affordable for ALL families.

Pay Educators properly

  1. I have been a kindergarten teacher for 35 years. I appreciate many of the changes and innovations that have been introduced over the last few years, especially the EYLF / VEYLDF and NQF. These changes serve to raise the standards of the Early Childhood Sector, and assist in the delivery of a more equitable system nation-wide. I also appreciate the significant increase in support services since I began teaching, services such as Early Intervention. However, I cannot survive with the phenomenal work load that the current regulations and standards create. I have to cut corners somewhere or I will have to resign. I am employed 23 hours a week, and OFTEN work longer hours than my husband, who is a campus principal in the state education system, and is employed full time. Most weeks I do a minimum of ten hours unpaid overtime, and many weeks I do twenty or more hours unpaid in addition to my paid hours. The children should come first, not the paperwork, and the educators should be considered and recompensed for the overwhelming increase to workload. I am both Educational Leader and Nominated Supervisor at my centre and teach one preschool group, but am not employed for any more hours or paid any more than a teacher who teaches one group and does not fill either of those roles. Early Childhood educators have an incredible amount of responsibility and accountability, but no recognition for it. The only reason that Early Childhood Education hasn't ceased to exist in Australia is because dedicated, committed teachers and co-educators like me keep putting in hours and hours of our own time to complete required tasks, and dollars and dollars of our own money for equipment and resources. The Government needs to wake up and value what we do and how hard we work while we are doing it.

  1. We are a small rural and remote town in the Midwest of WA. We have been battling for quite some time now to attract a suitably qualified person to be the Supervisor of our Long Day Care Centre. We have had 2 interested people, but when it comes to the permanency of signing a, employment contract they seem to get cold feet. Our community needs a Day Care Centre,

We are a farming community, and due to the downturn in the agricultural sector, many mothers are returning to the workforce to make ends meet. There needs to be a financial incentive for small rural towns to not only be able to entice qualified people to our town to deliver these types of services which will in turn allow us to be able to deliver Child Care at a cost effective rate for the families. Living in the bush need not always mean that we go without, we should be able to within reason of course, have access to services that our city cousins take for granted. rural towns are shrinking, and this is not helped by the relocation of mothers and children to larger regional areas for either employment or education. We need to keep our mums and kids in our towns, as without them other things start to slide away, ie sport and other social activities

  1. my family ran a chain of centres on the sunshine coast for 15years.

All childcare centres should have an appointed 'smart person' . This specifically approved person could have a ' looser' constriction on what they talk to the children about. Expose them to concepts/ laws and information that are currently restricted to talk about by staff. This person could discipline children in way that is currently restricted. also teach e- safety. Also teach respect for the politicians and political process. Political respect is at an all time low especially 'x and y genners' so i think this is important.

  1. I have worked in the childcare industry since 1989 and have seen many changes’ have worked in Long day care, Occasional Care and now work in Family Day Care as a Manager.

I am disappointed that the NCAC was scrapped totally as the process of assessing services was working and it raised the standard considerably and we had an easy to understand level to achieve and we were assessed on a regular basis.

The new NQF and NQS has standardized childcare regulations throughout Australia which is good but the regulations are difficult to understand and the regulation authority are not able to cope with the number of services they need to assess.

In Family Day Care the new regulations have allowed private individuals to start up services without being assessed. This is lowering the standard of FDC in the eyes of the parents and will effect the overall view of what family day care can provide.

These are often a one person business and can not offer the educators the support they need and require.

The new regulations have asked for all childcare workers to have qualifications and this has meant that we are not attracting new Educators. It would be better to encourage new staff to work in the industry for a short time at a lower level and then they would have better commitment to study and staying in the industry.

Centrelink need to let parents know what benefits they are entitled to. Many parents are unaware of what they can receive from the government.

The JET payment needs to have provisional approval prior to the child starting in childcare. Parents are signing up for a childcare place and are then unable to afford to pay their account as the JET is not approved.

Overall, the new standards appear to be a good idea but in practice appear to not be working which is a disappointment to the industry.

I hope this helps in any future decision making in the Early Childhood Sector.


  1. I have concerns around the inequity between the set hours Universal Access imposes on preschools (6OO HOURS). Is there prescribed hours for schools? Given they have days when children are not in attendance e.g. set up days, professional development days , curriculum days, report writing days, etc. How do they make up the days for their students. Why are kindergartens not given the same respect.

Kindergarten Inclusion Support funding. Stop making teachers write deficit model applications. Do you not get how difficult it already is for the parents of children with additional needs. Our Framework is strength based. Make KIS funding user friendly and focus on the needs of the children and families who desperately need government funding and support for the staff who value the needs of all children and require support to provide Best Practice in their services.

  1. As an Early Childhood Teacher for over 20 years I was so excited when Early Childhood was recognise, acknowledged and carefully considered by the Rudd government. Why?....

It provided a national framework that gave Early childhood education a common national language to discuss and plan for educational outcomes.

It recognised the contribution that ECE ( Early Childhood education ) made to overall education outcomes and extended the hours of Preschool for this purpose.

It recognised that smaller groups improved educational outcomes and consequently changed the child staff ratios.

It provided national regulations across the country and across all services.

It ensured that all services were meeting standards go quality and implemented a comprehensive assessment process.

It recognised that to meet high quality outcomes staff needed to have training and appropriate qualifications.

It provided forums through the professional learning program for conversations about education and additionally resources to support the framework.

All of the above have been achieved through the National Quality Standards. This progress is too important to reform and wind back for the sake of government cost savings.



  1. I am managing an In Home Care Service that operates in conjunction with a Family Day Care Service; the Licensee is our Local Shire Council. Here are my thoughts and suggestions for improvement.

All children including rural and remote children should have access to affordable and quality care and education.

Qualified Educators should be valued and acknowledged as early childhood educators. Remuneration should reflect their qualifications; experience and quality care service provided. Could remuneration be linked to NQS assessment result of service or educator?

CCB and CCR payments are very complicated for families to understand. One single benefit may be an easier option.

DEEWR could provide more monitoring and support to services especially those that are not meeting National Quality Standards, Regulations and/or their obligations under the Family Assistance Law. We have encountered services that are not meeting basic regulatory requirements and are working with dubious practices. DEEWR needs to have a better system to identify fraudulent practices.

We need consistent national requirements for Educators with cross border services and educators. We are required to complete two different processes with WWCC, Criminal record checks.

Services need consistent messages and guidelines between states from DEEWR departments. There have been varying interpretations between states in the past.

Inclusion Support Funding is difficult to obtain and ongoing requirements demand intense reporting and administration from staff. If a child is diagnosed with a severe and lifelong condition why does this require updated medical, educational observations and extensive care plans in order to receive ongoing funding.

It would be helpful to have start-up grants for new educators to get started, especially in rural and remote areas where services and training are difficult to access.

In Home Care could be included into the current National Quality Framework and National Regulation, this is another means of monitoring the quality being provided and better support and monitor services not meeting standards.

More funding should be available for professional learning and support for the implementation of the National Quality Framework. I.e. Bachelor in Early Childhood Education, Certificate 111 etc. This could also assist in maintaining ongoing requirements First Aid, CPR, Asthma, and Anaphylaxis training etc. This is often a consideration for Educators joining our service or deciding not to continue.

All early childhood services should be funded similarly. Care and Education services should be as one. There has always been division between Home Based Care, Pre-school and Long Day Care.


  1. It is essential that early childhood services be available for parents and for the wider community. Early childhood is a vulnerable period for many families, some struggle financially, worry about work/life balance and struggle with the emotional isolation of raising a young child - as well as being the most vital foundation years for later life of the child. Early years services need to fulfil these needs of the community by providing comprehensive and high quality services that support parents in their role, as well as nurture the young child in their learning and development. The only way this is to happen a by providing low cost, high quality child care that is delivered by trained professionals that are paid well and treated with professional respect. Services need to operate with small stag to child ratios and ample space (especially outside). Family day care needs to be recognised as an important form of care for young children (especially infants) and offered more incentive and higher professional requirements.

Services need to be a part of the community, working with other professionals and integrating the community into their philosophy.

  1. Make early learning tax deductible for working families with an income over $150,000 joint income.

Leave CCB to support the lower income families and JET.

Means test the CCR to limit the access to middle income families and spread the cost more broadly.

Maintain the NQF and qualification requirements.

Lift the entry barrier for teachers in early learning to the same level as teachers to increase the skills base.



  1. I would like to put forward a concern that we have at our Pre-School.

We hold a Limited Hours, Type 2 Licence and currently care for children on a sessional/part time basis however they are unable to access the childcare benefit.

We are unable to offer our families the CCB/R due to our licence type and we are unable to apply for a different licence type as our outdoor area does not meet the requirements. We offer sessional educational programs for children aged 2-5 years of age.

Most of our families are comprised of 2 working parents. Many of the mothers are trying to keep their foot in the door by working part time and have chosen to put their child/ren in our sessional care programs as it gives their child/ren the best of both worlds – a stimulating formal learning environment (part time) and time at home with mum/dad.

This is financially difficult as they do not receive any assistance in the form of the CCB/R. Their decision to put their child in shorter hours of care versus long day care leaves them disadvantaged.



I would like to put forward that ANY type of care be rebatable for working/studying parents, and parents can use this money towards ANY care that enables them to work/study. Grandparents, nannies, Kinders, creche, long day care, occasional care – all of these types of care need to be equal so that families make choices that suit their needs. I suspect that by including other types of care and making them claimable, this would ease up the demand currently experienced in childcare centres and open up availability.

  1. I have worked in and now work with early childhood education and care services. All available research shows that high quality care is necessary for good life long outcomes for children. This is now a fact. It does no good to give working parents 'affordable/flexible' access to care (that they trust is good) if that care is not able to support their children's emotional and attachment needs and their cognitive needs. It would seem to me that many of the youth problems that abound today are in part the result of parents' (and other authorities) not understanding the social and emotional needs of babies, toddlers and preschoolers, and sending children to poor quality care. Research is showing that for every dollar spent in the early years we can save up to $16 in the future. If parents understood that poor quality care can undermine their children for life they may think twice before they grabbed the 'affordable / flexible' banner. Quality care needs well trained and capable adults with lower adult child ratios. The NQS standards are the absolute minimum. Quality ECEC services generally have better ratios than this minimum standard. This does not come cheaply. The government would do better in educating families as to why we / they need to spend more money in the ECEC sector - that their children will benefit for life - than talking about affordability. And then improve subsidies for those who genuinely cannot pay. Also see ARACY's The Nest Action Agenda http://www.aracy.org.au/projects/the-nest#agenda.

I challenge decision makers to spend a week in the babies room with 1 adult to 4 or 5 babies - or a preschool room with 1 adult to 30 children in some states - to see the impossibility of such 'affordability' decisions. Stop trying to unravel everything the previous government and the ECEC sector has achieved over the past 5 years. Back the NQS and the EYLF as valid and effective stepping stones to a better future for Australia's young children and so for Australia as a whole.

  1. I believe the Ratio's of Educators to Children need to change NOW.

Children are OUR main concern and Interactions foremost in our practice, better Ratio's will allow for quality and meaningful interactions that scaffold the children's interests.

An example is 20 2-3yr olds in 1 room with 2 Educators. This age group is Toilet training and has nappy changes needed. ! Educator leaves the room to change and leaves 1 Educator to supervise. meaningfully interact and scaffold interests with 19 children. This becomes very stressful on all concerned.

Educators are expected to compete an unrealistic amount of paperwork each day and are not provided with the opportunity or time off the floor to complete it, therefore each Educator needs time allocation to achieve their required paperwork and provide the goals needed.

Ratio changes will support educators with better work place conditions, thus allowing Educators to enjoy their workplace more and CHILDREN to have the interactions they deserve.



  1. We have 11 Child Care services in ACT & regional NSW. I am concerned about support for the inclusion of disadvantaged children, we provide care and education for many children from disadvantaged backgrounds including those who have been abused, are homeless and have behaviour problems. Inclusion support is costly and we cover these costs ourselves as Inclusion Support Subsidy (when funds are available) does not cover the costs, this cost is passed on to other families using the services or through fundraising. Our service is in Goulburn and is struggling to remain viable. There is an over supply of child care in Goulburn but other centres tend to pick and choose which families they enrol. Please look at Inclusion Support Subsidies.

Staffing in all our services is difficult to acheive the qualification ratio required now for example our Capital Hill centre has a waiver (at a cost) because we can not find a Degree qualified person who wants to work with babies. All increased staffing costs for higher qualifications is passed on to families, the higher the qualification the higher the wage, we pay above award to remain competitive in the ACT market where there is a severe shortage of good, qualified educators.

Please look at the qualification requirements.



  1. I am the co-ordinator of an early childhood education and care service that does not currently qualify for approval for CCB purpose while still being in scope of the National Quality Framework.

We are a sessional prekindy service catering for 54 children each week. Our children attend one or two half day sessions each week.

Many of our families choose a prekindy service in combination with extended family care for their children while they work. This enables them to combine a flexible care arrangement with a consistent high quality early learning environment for their children.

However, because we are not eligible for approval for CCB purposes their are many families who would choose our service but simply cannot afford to.

We have enquiries from many families with children with special needs looking for a consistent environment for their child - same educators and same children each time they come - but because we are not approved for CCB we cannot access the support services CCB approved services can. Catering for the needs of these children is often not possible.

Many of the children who attend our service are referred on to other health professionals such as speech pathologists, occupational therapists, etc when educators identify developmental concerns. Because so many families in the community are unable to afford the unsubsidised prekindy fee there are many more children whose developmental needs will not be identified until they start school.

Prekindy services have been placed in scope of the National Quality Framework because they play a significant role in the care and education of young children but they are currently disadvantage in their ability to meet the needs of many vulnerable children because they do not meet the opening hours requirements of CCB approval.



  1. Working in a low socio-economic area we've found an increasing need over the last 5 years for Outside School Hours Care. I believe this is because our area has a high number of sole parents and low income earners working, looking for work and studying. However, after setting up an after school program and running the service at a loss (for social reasons) we handed the service over to a for-profit organisation as the administration side was increasingly unmanageable.

Unfortunately the for-profit organisation raised fees outside the reach of our parent community, the numbers decreased (even though there was a high need) and the for-profit closed the service.

Our school community still has a high need for OSHC, particularly for at risk students however economic decisions from the School and parents/carers have caused the service to be financially unsustainable.



  1. I have worked in the Childcare Sector for 12 Years and even though i am very Commited to my Job i believe Educators in the Sector need Higher Wages to Equal the work we do teaching the Children of Australia and Supporting Australian Families and the Australian Workforce. If we a more Male Dominant Workforce we would have Higher Wages.

  1. I am an early childhood teacher who has worked in the education and care sector for over 35 years. The introduction of the National Quality Standard is an achievement I never thought I would see during my working life. It has provided a direction and structure for all those in my sector which is necessary and very supportive. The documentation process provides so many opportunities for collaboration with colleagues and professional learning, and the parents seem to really appreciated the added detail and chances for discussion that the Framework's processes allow. There are tangible changes in the children - they are more engaged in activities, as the program is centred around their needs and interests, the children are more confident in their learning and language, as we now focus much more on their strengths and skill development - these changes are so rewarding to observe and be part of.

I hope the Productivity Commission Inquiry acknowledges that the NQS and NQF are fundamental to having a quality education and care sector. It has given those of us working in the sector an increased focus on learning both for the children and also ourselves, and so it benefits us all.

  1. For the National Law & Regulations to work effectively all states need to have one standard that is the same regardless of the state one might reside within. Eg NSW currently has different ECT ratio requirements than other states. Other states have ECT's on the premises for 6 hours or 60% of the day. However, NSW requires a ECT to be on the early childhood premises throughout the day and requires up to 2, 3 & 4 ECT on the licensed premises.

NSW requires Temporary Waivers to be sought at a cost for training ECTs, whilst other states automatically accept a training ECT without a service undergoing extensive red tape and costly advertising. If NSW was expected to comply with the rest of the nation, childcare fees could be significantly reduced (ie less teachers= less wages=lower fee structures).

The Assessment and Rating system is flawed. A service can be rated overall as Working Towards the national standard and yet have been assessed as Meeting the national standard for 52 of the 58 elements examined. There is a genuine problem with a system which seems to punish services for the small number of things they are yet to achieve and not acknowledge it for it's many achievements (ie 90% successes). One element rated as working towards should not render a whole quality area as working towards.



  1. What I see as problems.

The length of time it takes to get an application approved. I have heard of cases taking 6 months, and know of a current case (which should be straight forward as the child has Downs Syndrome) which is still in the system at 4 months.

ISS is approved for the carer and not the child. This means that if a child goes to another Educator while the primary Educator is on holidays an entire new application has to be filled out. Even though the condition has not changed.

KU, Inclusive Directions, Family Day Care and Federal Government Departments all seem to have different information. During a current case we were told by:

Inclusive Directions - ISS will not be approved by non-working parents using ISS

KU - ISS is not going to be approved for both Long Day Care and Family Day Care for non working parents

Federal Government - Early Childhood Initiatives Susan Leys Office -that it has nothing to do with whether a parent is working or not, it's to do with respite.

Family Day Care - there is no point in putting in applications as there is no funding.

It is hard enough to find Educators qualified and willing to look after children with Additional needs when the 4 Agencies cannot even get their guidelines straight.

Inconsistencies. Some Educators get ISS approved, and an identical case will not be approved.


  1. I worked in a childcare centre for 18 months as a qualified kindergarten teacher. In that relatively short space of time I saw some very negative things - children not getting enough to eat (one serve on most days at lunchtime) lack of resources (I had to buy all my own books, games, puzzles, activities.) I wasn't paid adequately as a kinder teacher, in line with what other qualifieds get in independent kinders, nor did I get the planning time or holidays. When I questioned the director and area manager about all of the above I was put off like I was just making complaints and told there was no extra money for resources and food. i was not the only one with a problem with the company.

  1. I have few points to say about childcare and early childhood learning sector.

Firstly, the condition for the educator need to be improved.

In Japan, there are 600,000 people have full qualifications and not working in the sector mostly because of their payment is less than workers in the convenience stores even the responsibility and demands are very high.

In the country, 2014, 74,000 carers and educators are lacking and children are on the waiting lists. ( 22,741 children in 2013 )

Another point is economic growth is dependent on if female work force could return to their work and pay tax after having children. And have more populations (giving birth) to have more taxpayers to support the growing population of retired elderly.

Therefore, spending more tax to pay the educator and pay parents to support their fees and costs will not be wasted. But it is only a good investment.

There is one good example of Yokohama City below.

(English) http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/yokohama-says-it-has-no-children-on-daycare-center-waiting-list

reference(Japanese):



http://www.huffingtonpost.jp/2013/10/20/nursery-staff_n_4133460.html#slide=2506263

  1. I have been working in childcare for 15 years I love my job!! I am a team leader at naracoorte childcare in SA. I have two children myself I balance work and being a mum. I have lost hours due to the teacher gaining hours 6 hrs a day . We provide quality care and should be paid as educators we work long hours with no perks or bonus ect fees are going up childcare places are going to be harder to find with the one school intake . This is only touching in a few issues but trying to be brief . It is all about our future and children are our future so support working parents raise them diet issues, speach, social and independence skills, motor and behaviour are all massive and parents do not have the time to teach these . We put our heart and sole into trying to offer diverse opporunities yes we have staff but no appreciation recognition and not a lot of time .......

  1. The childcare benefit and rebate provided to families can be streamlined more efficiently and actual families and children benefit. With the current system families get 50 hours if they tell they are working and even part time and for sometime only and get rebate as well. People get a letter from child protection and get special childcare benefit and many misuse the system. There are well to do professionals and people in the name of doing business show less income and get maximum benefit. Unless strict criteria are enforced the system will be misused and lot of funds are drained in the wrong place for the wrong reason. Over haul the system and make it efficient. Australia can't survive if you don't close the loophole and make all people receive the benefit accountable. This is written in confidence and can be shared for the relevant purpose.

Thankyou

  1. Family Day Care is a flexible and underrated form of Chidlcare. Ratios in some states have dropped from 1:5 to 1:4. Surely if some states have run higher ratios while still providing quality care then 1:5 ratio could be across the whole country. It would immediately create more childcare places and FDC Businesses could drop fees or stop increasing fees to cover our costs. Gas and Elec are skyrocketing and that has to be shared amongst 4 children in care. The EYLF needs to be streamlined so the documentation requirements are clear and do-able. Parents need to be able to access respite overnights whereever they are.. Some schemes say yes, some schemes say no to the same parents. We need a level playing field

  1. I, along with my staff, believe the following issues NEED to be addressed in the ECEC sector

• Despite the agreement that quality ECEC is important, centres should not necessarily require an ECT to be high quality. If the government really wants us to have ECT’s to increase quality then they need to ensure we can hire quality ECT’s. They need to up the wages, not only for teachers but also for other staff that have the responsibility for the education and care of young children, in order to attract not just the dregs of the educator pool but high quality qualified staff..

• Not for profit centres DO need government assistance to increase wages for staff in order to keep fees down for families. Not for profit centres need to be funded by governments to some degree, as are schools, to assist with costs again, so families do not need to pay more

• The NQS I believe is a great thing, along with the EYLF, but there is no way of families knowing the results of assessment properly. We obtained a ‘Meeting’ result but had many exceeding elements. The rating does not reflect this. I imagine anyone who received ‘Working Towards’ would be devastated if only one element wasn’t met as this sounds that the centre is not that good when in fact it could be extremely good and also have elements that reflect exceeding but have a rating that doesn’t reflect this.

• Expansion of not for profit centres should be assisted by government so we can meet the needs of families for available education and care. We currently have an enormous wait list for babies. This is mainly due to for profit centres taking mainly over 3’s to increase their profit margin. Why should it cost us even more to provide this service that for profit centres? Why should for profit centres be allowed to only take over 2-3’s so they can make more money? Shouldn’t long day care be for all children under 5?

• RAISE THE PROFILE OF EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATORS. INCREASE WAGES AND THEN COMES THE RESPECT AND RECOGNITION THEY DESERVE. THIS MAY MEAN QUALITY STAFF MAY STAY IN THE INDUSTRY AND THIS WILL SIGNIFICANTLY INCREASE OUTCOMES FOR CHILDREN .Currently staff are finding they need to put in extra time to provide high quality programs. After a while this gets them down and they either start to burn out or leave to take a job with less responsibility and more pay. The children are the ones that suffer as a result of this.

Thank you for the time taken to read this.



  1. As long as childcare remain primarily a private sector, where the bottom line is profit driven, we will keep having the same issues over and over again. The government needs to take the ‘bull by the horn’ and run Childcare as a whole like state schools. It is a long and winding road, but in the long run, it will be worth it for all concerned. I have been in Childcare for over 25 years and nothing has changed, and it will not until the government takes full control.

  1. I would like to express that I find the system is a one size fits all system that discriminates against small communities coming up with alternate models which suit their needs. Currently we are trying to put in a day care model that suits our small community in Forrest and feel that we are getting nowhere. I feel as it goes up the line we get blocked all the time. We can't access CCB due to lack of weeks care is offered which then directly impacts on our parents. There is no other close care availabe with parents traveling at the least 25mins to get care. We have the site, we have the workers, we have the need (although not huge, actually is in comparison to population of community), yet we are blocked in every direction and are continually getting misinformation.

Government calls for exact models we can offer at Forrest - we have Pre-school, school, Out of Hours care, playgroup and until mid last year In venue Family Day Care (Shire pulled the pin as said it was too costly!), all under the one roof, yet we cannot access CCB and Regulations increase costs due to staffing needs. It should not be a one size fits all model - we have looked at many ways of thinking outside the square yet to be told no cannot do that; no can't do that; no can't do that! What can we do? Where is the help? Where is the flexibility and ability to offer alternative models to suit small communities? Yet again as I have said the system is discriminatory and needs to ensure it is based on best interest of the children and community needs.

I am very passionate about the new framework, but feel the Government is not operating in the best interest of the children when it is a logistical and bureaucratic nightmare to get anywhere. I feel that Government needs to be flexible for small rural communities especially when parents work within the town.

I am at boiling point and feel something needs to be done sooner rather than later. One size fits all is discrimination!!


  1. I am an owner of a child care centre.

Over the past 2 years we have made changes to our centre's educational practices that are more in line with a Kindergarten curriculum which has improved the way the 3-5 year olds room is run. We have also introduced themes into our programme; which includes; seasons; our bodies; I am what I eat; other places in the world; transport; houses; language; science; families; community; other cultures and we really celebrate Australia Day in a big way.

We also have a huge focus on developing good social skills with the children. Our community is very diverse and there are many cultures in our centre and we try to celebrate their special days as well, e.g., Chinese New Year.

There is a lot of paper work in child care and a lot of regulations to follow; this has been quite a challenge to get everything in the right place.

We were a volunteer centre for the Early Years Learning Framework and we were very pleased with our overall results.

We are always trying to improve our centre and the way we are doing things; especially with the updating and making improvements to our QUIP (which takes up a lot of time); our programmes which we continually improve to reflect the level of competency of the Educators and the development level of the children.

It is a working progress and our Educators have done a great job to achieve a High Quality practice in our Centre.



  1. I am an owner operator of a long day care service. I am also a parent of primary school age children who have attended creches, Family Day Care and Long Day Care before they went to school. I am also a holder of an approved qualification to be the Early Childhood Teacher. I support wholeheartedly this inquiry as I believe there has been a gross and negligent commitment of financial, political and workforce resources to the reform in Early Childhood Care and Education.

The debacle that has unfolded was both foreseeable and predictable. The outcome of spiraling increase in fees was also foreseeable and inevitable as this sector has contended with increasing regulation from other bodies with jurisdiction over aspects of our operations. I shall expand on this toward the end of my submission,

During my 20 odd years in the sector of child care and education, and again as a parent involved in school matters, I have been led to believe one of, if not the most significant indicator/predictor/influence on a child's development and academic achievement is purely and simply the education and occupation of their parents.

Demographically then, there are geographical areas where socio-economic data can determine where additional resources are most likely to generate significantly improved outcomes for a larger portion of the children in that area.

Similarly, there are localities where historically and currently the achievement of children during and after their school life are statistically better than the aforementioned. Any measurement or prediction of improved educational outcomes for children in these areas must pale into insignificance compared to the improvements achievable in areas of high need.

Under the current debacle (Labor's Early Childhood reform) these advantaged and higher achieving areas are working with the same regulations for Early Childhood and Education, the same curriculum, ie Early Years Framework as any other geographic or socio economic area

The resulting additional allocation of resources in terms of quality of care and education embedded in the reforms is universal, despite any comparison of benefits to be derived. The changes to staff ratios and qualifications, and the requirement to implement the Early Years Learning Framework (or other approved curriculum - do any others exist??) are the same regardless of assessed need, and the potential for real and significantly improved outcomes for children.

Surely the allocation of resources and any future models to be considered will be commensurate to the potential for gain or benefit. If not, in the larger context, this means some communities will benefit only marginally, since they are predisposed to better outcomes, and other communities could be deprived of the outcomes possible if they operated under a different model with allocation of resources more aligned to their needs.

Undeniably, this approach is open to criticism and the standard political rhetoric we have ingested during Labor's mismanagement of reform.... ‘All children deserve a good start in life.’ My point exactly! We can make a significantly better start for many many children, if sound decision making results in resource allocation where it is needed most. You may call it robbing Peter to pay Paul - but Peter is already streets ahead of Paul.

The best outcomes will be achieved from the multiplier effect, when communities as a whole are achieving higher outcomes in health, education, civic awareness and care for the environment. The resources need to be allocated to communities. Irrespective of an Early Childhood Education and Care Providers rating, ie. Working Towards, or Exceeding National Standard, the actual cost - benefit analysis to the community will not correlate.

Going back to my point about excessive regulation of the sector, I make reference here to the National Food Safety Regulations. Talk about being over regulated? The Environmental health officers from the local government will more than likely tell you, if you were interested enough to ask, that whilst the population of children in childcare are considered to be vulnerable, the actual incidence of food contamination and poisoning is insignificant, compared to that of children being served in school canteens, kiosks and fast food / take away outlets. There was insufficient evidence warranting additional regulation of child care centres, yet the impact on productivity and the drain on managerial resources is enormous. Again, another example of misallocation of resources. Surely the time spent administering, complying and enforcing these regulations must be tested against the measurable difference it has made to the actual incidence of health issues, as opposed to simply mitigating the risk of unsafe food handling occurring.



If the National Regulations are appropriate and adequate, where is the rationale for legislation and potential for penalties from other bodies.

  1. When considering accessibility for families with regard to childcare the commission needs to consider the majority of workforce in childcare.If we are talking about extending hours and also having centres providing care on weekends how will that impact young families of women who work in childcare? The majority of workforce are women, seriously I do not think this has been thought through. All hours childcare will disadvantage women who work in childcare. Also whilst is difficult for centres to put in place I still want 100% ratio coverage it benefits children.

  1. I am recognised as a qualified Early Childhood Teacher via ACEQA BUT I am not recognised by Qld Govt in regards to the Kindy program......WHY?

  1. I believe the EYLF has been misinterpreted by many services and the push for too much scholastic focus on young children is being pushed down by the Primary/Prep sector and is not endorsed by our Framework. The EYLF strongly advocates for play and social -emotional development in the 0-5 years. This is an absolutely critical phase of human development. Families are already well subsidized and subsidized hourly fees vs average hourly wages for working parents are generous. For example if your average hourly rate for childcare is $8.50 an hour - reduced to $4.25 per hour after CCR, and not even including CCB, this is a reasonable portion of the average adult hourly rate of pay, especially considering the value of the service being provided. I feel the Gov't might consider directly contributing to services wage costs so that professional educators receive better renumeration for the work they provide. ECEC wages are very low compared to the quals you must have. The bigger problem for quality is not related to the EYLF but in getting staff to remain current and informed through ongoing PD. Many experienced workers have implemented the new framework through old ‘lenses’ because they have not remained current in their training. The Gov't should not go backwards on the EYLF, nor should it minimize the efforts and significance of the sector by subsidizing out of scope services like Nannies and Au Pairs. This is like paying people to home school to reduce education costs. If parents choose to stay at home and raise their children, then they need to plan and prepare and make sacrifices to do so - childcare is heavily subsidized for two reasons - it encourages return to work which contributes to the economy, and it creates a stronger and more positive foundation for continued success (and therefore less drain on future economies) - if done well! Cheaper and more convenient should not be the preferred requirements for the care and education of our youngest citizens! The rating system of the NQF needs to be reviewed, being rated overall at the lowest level of achievement across 70+ elements is not equitable and neglects to embrace that different contexts and services will have different strengths and challenges. OOSHC services are completely different and need different levels of support and monitoring - that area of the industry is really suffering. I believe encouraging the growth of the privately owned sector will boost competition; there is a greater market share of NFP and gov't run services that might not have the same performance pressures as privately owned and run services. The $300m fund that was removed was not well thought out and I'm glad that it was axed. The industry needs help to look outside the box, refine business practices and move forward with the EYLF. Throwing more money at parents and reducing expectations for quals and quality will not be good solutions long term.

  1. there should be research done into the value of the 1:4 ratio before implementation. educators need more help recovering debt by allowing centrelink to recover money from parents who do not pay fees. To make childcare affordable for families and worthwhile for educators to stay, the subsidy needs to be more for working families. Educators should have the option to have a percentage of their pay with held for sick days and holidays

  1. I believe whilst trying to combine all our early childhood together under one lot of regulations we have managed to divide a team of work force.

In family day care as at 1 jan 2014 all states will go to 1:4 under school age yet in a centre they are 1:4 in babies room and 1:8 in preschool room 2:12 or 1:6.

These family day care educators have to have same qualifications do all the same paperwork and requirements and yet are not allowed same ratios and are discriminated against,

why not if your worried have stipulations in ratios no more than 2 under 2 and 3 or 4 preschoolers or 6 preschoolers only ?

This is causing conflict educators who do Family day care are allowed to choose how many children up to ratio of they only want 4 have four but those who can handle the same as a LDC centre should be given the same rights as an educator in same environment. The family day care educator does all the roles of each individual in a ldc and yet you tell her or him she isnt as good by limiting her ? This effects families in rural communities where sometimes this is the only form of care. Child have to be able to have an environment where they can learn from those around them teachers environment and other children .



  1. Childcare prices are becoming extremely high and the Government rebates to families only seems to drive up prices so that the owners can gain more profit. There is a need to increase the rebate for working families and reduce the amount that non-working families can access childcare. Why should a family that are not working take up places that should enable mothers to return to work which makes it harder for those working mothers to find places in childcare. Especially in the 0-2 age range. Often depending on your income it is not financially viable to return to work if you have to pay 5 days a week childcare. Lets make it easier for mothers to return to work.

  1. I have been working in childcare now for over 9 years, I am diploma trained and have a university degree in Interior Architecture. I honestly believe that working with young children is an incredibly hard yet equally rewarding job. People who choose to work in this field do it for the love of working with children and shaping the next generations, as they are grossly underpaid! I think what the government in the past and present have done to child care workers in terms of pay and award rates is disgusting! The first few years of a child’s life is when they learn morals and how to interact appropriately in our society, the quality of people teaching these children will have a direct impact on how the children will learn and develop all these important skills. If you do not pay people enough money for the very hard work they do, they do not feel valued and ultimately the very good teachers and child care workers end up leaving the field as the pay and work conditions are horrendous. I will never again work in a child care centre as they pay is terrible, the hours are long and the expected unpaid overtime for all the paper work required is ridiculous. I now do family day care and next year when I have to cut my ratio from 1:5 down to 1:4 that is a fifth of my income gone. I will continue to work as a family day care provider as I love children, but the loss of income will come with some financial strains for my family.

  1. Parents of children attending Long day care and childcare centres who employ qualified staff should be paid at higher rate of rebate than those parents who leave their children at family day care centres and with grand parents.

I think children are left at other places don't learn as much as they do at childcare centres.

  1. fee-free Cert III school-based VET courses launch an 'army' of low cost, well qualified carers into childcare.

    Including CHC30812 into this structure would give this 'army' purpose and direction in elevating numeracy & literacy across Australia.



  1. As the owner of a private Long Day Care Centre in an area of low socio-economic status, we find it a challenge to run a financially viable, let alone profitable business. We have increased our fees gradually, but still have, probably amongst the lowest, if not the lowest fees in the state.

I understand & agree that child care can be expensive for some parents, yet they expect & are entitled to an excellent standard of care/education for their child/ren.

How can the industry attract educated, dynamic & career oriented educators given the wages that they are currently paid? It is worse than Aged Care! The industry attracts mainly young girls with little &/or poor secondary school education, who come from dysfunctional homes, because ‘they love kids’. And you expect these girls to care for/educate babies/young children in their formative years! A recent study that the Labour Government released showed that 90% of children's brain development occurs in the first 3 years of life & yet funding is directed to four year old kinder. It's too late by this stage!

I think the NQF & the EYLF have been a step in the right direction, although transition from a developmental approach has been a challenge for our more experienced staff.

Whilst I understand the need for ratios, the higher ratios (1:4) in the under 3 rooms, is a financial challenge. It costs more to place staff in the room than there are children to charge/pay fees.

Another issue as a business owner is that of unpaid fees. Don't give parents the option of choosing where the CCR is paid. Pay it directly to the Child Care Centre so that we do not have parents running up fees with promises to pay & then leaving the centre with no notice to do it again at another child care centre. Chasing unpaid fees is not a pleasant aspect of running a business & even then we have limited success. Debt collectors only have limited success.

Why do people on welfare get higher CCB than people who work? If parents choose to stay home & care for their children, why do they need higher levels of subsidies than those that work?

As a tax payer, I personally don't have an issue with paying a higher rate of tax provided that the money is directed to areas of need - education (across all ages), the public health sector, essential services & efficient public transport.

I'm sure I'm not the only tax payer/voter who is sick of ineffective governance that waste's money.



  1. Forcing outside school hours care to comply to the same regulations and requirements as long day care has made no sense and has made it almost impossible to retain appropriate staff at our services.

Once staff acquire the appropriate qualifications they immediately apply for full time positions in long day care as outside school hours care can never be anything more than part time.

Children who attend programs will have spent all day in a structured learning environment with 4 year trained teachers, expecting people who are Diploma qualified or working towards Diplomas, to be able to teach a mixed age group is absurd. Outside school hours needs to be run by caring individuals with common sense and first aid training to fulfill the role of a missing parent who would be in charge of them if they were at home.

The paperwork and red tape required at the moment only prevents the children from having quality time with the adults in charge of them in place of their parents.

There are plenty of people who are available to work the hours required but age and family commitments often prevent these ideal candidates from rejoining the workforce due to the high qualifications required to do a job that should require nothing more than a certificate 3 in a child care related field.



  1. The topics posed in the inquiry don't address the affordability of mainstream parents, just the fringe ones.

The biggest issues are the heavy handed regulations introduced (bad law making) to wish by govt it may produce a mythical high quality standard, all based on a UNCROC which Australia is not a signatory to.

The simple answer to affordable childcare is REVERT BACK TO THE PREVIOUS REGULATIONS and STOP PROPPING UP GOODSTART CHILDCARE, to the detriment of all small privately run ones, which dont receive extra funding.

In addition, get rid of the NSW govts immunisation policy in childcare where centres from 1/1/14 are required to manage it (at high costs).


  1. If you bring in nanny’s, grandparents etc for childcare are they going to have less rules and regulations as the government has put on the childcare industry. Scheme policies increasing as they want High Quality, police checks, working children first aid, NQF EYLF and the list goes on.There was 80-90 educators now only 28, at least 4 have gone private.I think educators should receive Higher payments considering the plumber cost $65 an hour, and we are looking after parents precious little lives their children.

  1. I wasn't able to find childcare for my son when he was born, despite being on numerous wait lists. I wanted to be a stay-at-home mum but financially needed to work. After nearly a year of waiting for childcare, and my maternity leave ending, I decided to change careers and become a carer myself. I now work as a Family Daycare Educator and help have the great opportunity to help my son plus 6 other families with their care needs.

  1. As an educator and a parent, I know that certain environments are too busy/noisy for some children and they would thrive if they were to be educated at home. We have home schooling for older children so why don't we make nannies available to parents with government help? I think that giving parents more options shows that we are considering every child and every family's needs. I also feel that the waiting lists in long daycare services would be alleviated. Not every parent works during the day and this is a huge problem as far as obtaining adequate and affordable childcare for the children of shift workers.

  1. Educators such as myself in child care are professional. We take duty of care our legal responsibility very seriously.

Child care is rewarding, though not recognized for the profession it is. Pay is not at the level it should be yet all educators are working for the children, planning educational programs which are age appropriate at their level, and fun. We ensure activities and games are ones the children choose and enjoy, with intentional teaching extending on the experiences the children choose, following the Early Years Learning curriculum.

Being casual, I help permanent educators with programs, planning activities, games and we involved parents so they help educators know their children.



  1. I have worked in childcare for the last 6 yrs as an Office Manager of a 39 place long day care not for profit community based. Employing 11 perm. And casuals.

Our fees are kept to the lowest possible for many reasons. Rural area, 55% non working and studying 30% is of Aboriginal and Torres Strait, and 45% working. the lowest fee @ 100% is $16.11 with CCB for a 10 hour day plus half of this fee is family benefit .

The recent changes that came to childcare EYLF has been an excellent change in childcare as it is National and everyone has complied already to regulations and have these regulations set in place. I don’t understand why the government wants to delay a system that works efficiently. Recently the coallition gov. gave childcare workers a $300,000 funding agreement for workers to which we were approved then revoked by the new government. The staff are all trained and work very hard to maintain the standards of a childcare worker. I see the the up and downs of the pressure they are under for the small wage they receive. I see the children that are better off in childcare than at home. I see parents that are marvelled in the progress their children make. I see early intervention for children of need. In this fast moving world childcare is the one place where children can socialise to play, learn respect for each other and prepare for their journey of life.



  1. One of the main reasons I believe the cost of child care has gone up so much in the last few years, is because of the enormous increase in red tape, paperwork and time spent trying to comply with all the new rules and regulations. As an educator my fees have had to go up as a result of the enormous amount of time I have to spend outside my hours of caring for children trying to comply with it all. I'd say I spend somewhere between 15 to 20 hours a week (at least) outside of caring for children trying to comply with paperwork and other regulations. And even though my fees have had to go up, I still am earning less per hour than what I used to before because I have to work so many more hours trying to comply. I'm sure I'm not the only one in this situation. It is my opinion that many of the new requirements don't increase the quality of care for children, and if anything reduce the quality of care as many educators try to comply with it all during the hours they care for the children. This means the children get much less attention.

I don't think care by nannies should get funded by the government as it would reduce the CCB and CCR amounts that parents will receive in long day care or family day care as the total amount of funding won't increase.

  1. Speech Language Pathologists are needed in Child Care.

Statistics show that early intervention for communication difficulties result in far better outcomes than when communication difficulties are worked with during school-age years.

Statistics also show that children with communication difficulties have difficulties with literacy, therefore they fall behind in academic studies, which results in limited opportunities for employment putting them in low socio-economic standing. Delinquents with communication difficulties are in the majority.

Please help the Child Care sector to properly care for the children in their care by employing Speech Language Pathologists to work with children with communication difficulties in their formative years.


  1. I feel that the CCB and Childcare Rebate should be made available to families that use preschools. These valuable education and care services struggle with vacancies and this is partly due to the fact that families can use a long daycare service and receive these benefits. Most of our families are working and studying but miss out on being able to claim this due to the current funding models. Nannies and in-home care DO NOT provide the same EDUCATION and CARE as a preschool service with qualified and experienced educators, so preschools should receive the support before nannies and in-home care does.

  1. I find very few of our families understand CCB.

We as staff don’t have clear guidelines to inform parents. I would like information on eligibility and how to claim sent to each centre at the start of the year

  1. As approved providers for 20+ years, we have seen many changes. The changes instituted by the previous Federal Labor Govt are commendable, but lacked an understanding of 1) the low level of quality in many ‘Childcare’ services and consequently 2) the time taken to institute change. There needs to be a longer transition period to allow those services who are quite frankly below even a low par to catch up.

At the other end of the quality scale we know of very few operators like ourselves, who travel to World Conferences to learn the latest in research associated with early childhood development, so that we are able to offer the best possible environment for early childhood learning. Conferences in Australia are slowly changing to become more research - and consequently child outcome - focussed rather than 'process driven' by the need to fulfil a huge list of check boxes, some of which are quite insulting to our integrity with their threats of large fines. If operators aren't performing properly then the parents will vote with their feet. It doesn't need a big stick approach to threaten people with litigation if they do the wrong thing!

It is unlikely that quality will ever become 'top notch' in individual centres or more generally across the industry, whilst ever the focus of operators is on the financial outcome of the business rather than the outcomes for the children in their care.

We adopt the latter approach and our Centre is 100% occupied for 51 weeks of the year (Christmas week being the only fall in occupancy) with waiting lists ... and .... we don't advertise!

As one presenter at the World Forum in Early Childhood Education said a few years ago ‘Happy child = happy parent = happy bottom line’. Very true.

If operators would concentrate on the outcome for each individual child in their care, by providing well resourced programs, based on the latest research in early childhood development, rather than concentrating on the financial 'bottom line', then our nation may well have a better than average chance of achieving educational standards in the top ten rather than languishing around 25 as reported by Julia Gillard!

There is certainly considerable room for improvement, starting with the general perception of an industry which has been traditionally baby sitting (hence the childcare tag), but is now rapidly changing to become Early Childhood Education. It is the foundation of every individuals learning for life & needs to be recognised as such by everyone.



Thanks for listening. We don't have solutions on an industry wide level, but We do wish you well in your deliberations.

  1. I have been an Educator with Family Day care for almost 12 years. I have seen many wonderful changes that have taken place to greatly improve the quality of care as well as to give value and creditability to FDC Educators. However I must agree that the amount of paper work that is required to link children's learning to the EYLF is overtaking the joy and the complete pleasure of being in the company of these wonderful and spontaneous children that are such an important part of my life. Instead of just enjoying and being present to offer support and encouragement while the play is happening I spend time writing down notes for the observations I need to write up later, analysing what is being learned and thinking of future activities to support each child. I am exhausted . I should not have to continue my job into the late evenings. The expectation is unrealistic and unmanageable.

  1. I am the owner of 4 long day care centres in Northern Rivers NSW - a regional area very close to the NSW coast and the Gold Coast. All of my centres have vacancies throughout the year, every year, and at no time have any of them ever been full. This could be the opposite to the city centres but the case in regional areas is vastly different and if decisions are made on the majority voices which come from the city, regional services will suffer. All of my centres except one, struggle to survive as other centres have been allowed to be built nearby when no need had been previously identified. Development of child care centres, including those in primary schools and community based preschools and community based long day care, should be assessed on a needs basis for that particular community. Continued development of CCCs in areas of non- need just dilutes services and makes it difficult to provide quality care and education as costs keep going up, including wages, and parents cant afford fees to pay higher fees for the wages and other associated costs, particularly those associated with implementation of the NQF. NON LICENSED PRIMARY SCHOOLS are now offering a preschool education to the 3-5 year olds which contravents the child care law and regulations.

I have written numerous letters to DEC, DET, the premiers office complaining that Primary school, which are not Licensed ( as my centres need to be) as unlawful and are one of the causes of the dilution of service able to be offered by private long day care. Why are preschool aged children protected by licensing in my private long day care centres, but don’t need to be protected by licensing in the Primary schools ( If you need further information on the responses I have received from various NSW government departments I will be happy to share with you as my next port of call is the NSW ombudsman). All NSW Govt departments contacted refused to address my issue about the Primary schools being non licensed, offering preschool education and clearly breaching child care law and regulations, not to mention the costs impost on my businesses and not on the Primary Schools by licensing. Wages at my 4 centres increased significantly in July 2013 and fees increases did not meet that increase. The money had to be taken from the business and anyone who runs a business knows that that is not sustainable for a business. Wages for Cert 3 qualified on casual rate is very high and I’m sad to say that many have very basic education from school or TAFE and to be honest, really should not be paid a higher wage until their basic education improves. Many cant read properly, spell or know anything about grammar. Trainee wages and conditions have increased considerably so that its almost not viable to take on trainees as they are a lot of work. Their wages and conditions makes hiring them border on non- viable. We are unable to hire ECTS ( in regional areas we suffer GREATLY trying to get any staff, let alone good quality staff and its almost impossible to get ECTs.). The process of submission of waver application is deplorable with the department, ACECQA, not knowing what they are doing and significantly increasing the red tape and administrative burden and associated costs. I understand that children need a good quality teacher, but many of the teachers who come out of universities lack basic education themselves, often not being able to spell, have no concept of grammar or sentence construction, are not taught how to care for preschool aged children and to make matters worse their unions are very demanding and impose significant problems on a business whenever they get the opportunity - warranted or not. Electricity prices and rents continue to increase while enrolments are down due to the Primary schools, family day care and the Preschools getting lots of NSW state government funding. Private long day care will never get a good report from the assessment and ratings process as the DoCS assessors are friends of the community based and not -for- profit sector centre directors and staff. Private Long day care is given breaches by DoCS at the drop of a hat, yet if you happen to go into a not- for- profit or community based centre, you will see many breaches of the child care law and regulations, but that very same centre will get exceeding in its assessment and ratings report. The assessment and ratings needs to be done by independent assessors from a private company who can go in with objective criteria and be consistent across the range of services. Private long day care staff suffer disappointment at their efforts and commitment when they constantly see the unfairness handed out by the DoCS assessors, and become disheartened when they see the community based centre up the road; exceeding; when, without making a wild blanket statement, is inferior in many ways to the private facility. Our achievements are not recognised. A local community based centre were all bought IPads to use in the classroom. What do you think this means? It means that the educators are interacting on face book and interacting with their Ipads, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are interacting with the children nor does it mean that the childrens education will improve because of the IPads!! Let us all see some evidence before taxpayers money is spent on IPads for educators in community based preschools.
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I own 4 child care centres in northern NSW. One of the problems in child care which significantly adds to higher fees is parents not paying their fees. This problem is every present and parents use many tactics to avoid paying fees (* which I wont go into here) however the net result is that there are significant losses of fees annually, the quality that services are able to provide is impacted negatively by the loss of income, and increased competition in areas with no demonstrated need means that parents are more likely to jump from centre to centre leaving a trail of unpaid fees behind. This also means that diligent parents who are interested in a good education for their children are being duped by those who don’t pay, because the centre overall misses out on income it should receive, and return to the centre’s children in educational equipment etc. The parents who contribute their CCR are most likely to be parents who do not get behind with fees, and are diligent and care about children’s education but many other parents think nothing about running up thousands of dollars and taking off. Being an emotive industry, child care workers and centre directors are not able to successfully follow up and chase parents, or they get exhausted doing so, and centre owners also get exhausted trying all avenues to collect the money owed... then the parent has skipped to the next centre. THIS SIGNIFICANTLY ADDS TO THE UNAFFORDABILITY OF CHILD CARE AND SHOULD BE ADDRESSED AT A GOVERNMENT LEVEL BY ALLOWING CHILD CARE CENTRES TO ACCESS PARENTING PAYMENT AND BENEFITS PAID TO NON PAYING PARENTS.

  1. On reading the comments provided above - there is a distinct pattern EVERYONE is very concerned about the education and care of all Australian children! People using or, working in early childhood education and care, as well as others who do not have children or work with them are saying the same things...Especially in relation to allocation of resources in a fair and equitable manner that will uphold the high standards outlined in the NQS for ALL children and families. PLEASE LISTEN to what all these people from diverse backgrounds and contexts are saying - we HAVE made some excellent reforms but need to continue to work further on them to refine and consolidate them. Major cuts to funding; delaying or stopping much needed reforms to staffing ratios and qualifications are NOT the way to do this! Please do not undo and destroy the positives we have built up already. Yes, there is room for improvement so we need to continue to focus on strengthening the education and care system in Australia to ensure everyone in our nation is able to live rich, fulfilling lives now and into the future. Local and international research from various disciplines (e.g. neuroscience, education, economic reform, social policy) and over many decades continually points to the critical importance of well resourced early education and care services/facilities to ensure the welfare of a nation's population and ability to thrive and prosper has the chance to actually happen.

  1. 1. I have a B Teach (0-5yrs), Dip in childrens services, and BE

  1. I have managed multiple centres over the past 18 years as an owner/operator

  2. The old regulations were totally suitable for the childcare industry.

  3. The new regulations requirements have increased the cost of running a childcare centre by approx 40%, however CCB indexing has only gone up by CPI and CCR has remained fixed for the past several years.

  4. I have found that having a B Teach (0-5yrs) degree provides no better skills in childcare than the Dip in childrens services, however the cost is $20 per hour higher.

  5. The old ratios of 1:5, 1:8 & 1:10 were totally suitable and a cost efficient balance between proper care and affordability

  6. If a centre doesn't get 100% in assessment (all qualitative judgements by the assessor not quantative as in the old system) then reassessment occurs every 12 months instead of 2 years, doubling the size in inspectors required in the Dept of E & C.

  7. Breaches now carry huge fines, adding to the cost of childcare. eg if a parent forgets to sign out it is a $2000 fine on the centre.

  8. the new regs are interest based, instead of needs based. 100% of parents want a needs based program

  9. The regs are one size fits all. council centres and large corporates have on staff HR managers. HR staff, workplace safety staff etc who can answer the assessment questions, however a family centre cannot afford these specialists, therefore fail assessment. there should be at least two tiers of assessment, one for the big end of town and one for a mum and dad centre. The new regs are driving out the family owned centres replaced by the corporates. Is this a good or bad thing?

  10. The Labour govt reduced and froze CCR several years ago, not allowing it to rise in line with the govts changes in regulations resulting in a 40% increase in fees over the past three years. CCR should be increased to $10,000 and paid direct to the centres.

  11. In my city centre the u/2 fee has risen from $95 per day 4 yrs ago to $145 per day now, solely due to so called quality changes made by the government (the new regulations). If something is not done immediately fees will again rise by another 30% on 1 Jan 2016 due to new ratios for u/3 from 1:8 to 1:5, again under the aspires of quality. This could result in a failed government

  12. The new regulations have not increased quality, only forced fees to rise. I predicted this on the media Sept 5 years ago and Minister Kate Ellis stated that I had no idea. The following ng January, fees rose by 20 to 40%. In the end Kate Ellis had no idea.

I have many other issues that directly affect the cost of childcare, but believe will fall on deaf ears. In the end its the parents who pay and will eventually elect a government who do the right thing financially

  1. Please do not allow cuts to be made to the care and services provided for the education and care of children in our community. It is hard enough working within the current constraints, without further cuts. Cuts affect children, families and the people who are in the trenches working with these people.

  1. The children receive a best start in the early years, only if they are in the best childcare environment. We educators strive hard to achieve the best outcomes for these young minds. I strongly advocate the `assessment and rating system.' Let us invest in the Early Childhood and give our children a good start to their evolving lives for a better future of the country.

  1. Why are the ratios for toddler to educator so high ? 1 educator to 10 toddlers or its 1 educator to 19 toddlers for up to an hour and half 4x a day during nappy changes. Yet in every other state in Australia they are 5 -1 or 8-1.

There is a reason for this !!! the toddlers are not old enough for this many children a 2 year old needs to be nurtured not left to fend for themselves and there is not enough educators to help 20 toddlers when they are all upset or want their needs met. In the real world the N.Q.S cannot be achieved with these ratios or if they are SHOW ME please Show me photos or documentation of how 1 educator keeps 19/20 toddlers safe and engaged with them all day every day ! Show me pictures or documentation of 2 Educators looking after 20 toddlers all day and it not getting out of control because I’m guessing they are not using the E.Y.L.F guidelines & Framework they are being guided by an army style routine their needs are not being met !!

Whoever decided on these ratios should be ashamed of themselves this is not high quality care for 2 - 3 year olds. I do not believe waiting till 2016 is right .

This ratio should be changed immediately or at least give toddler room 1 more educator if 16 toddlers or over until 2016 this way its a start to make something happen sooner but its a true fact that toddler educators leave their profession because no - one is listening and toddler educators do care about our children’s well-being because we know how bad it is .


  1. Most of the work submitted carry weight, however when it come to FDC, that area is very wrong. Most educators working in FDC now are very well qualified, I choose to work in this area, because of lack of quality staff in long day settings. I live in a rural area where child care is hard at the best of times to get for families. We need better educators in rural area to give maximum benefit to the children. The rural children are in need in so many areas, please don't let their education in early learning get worse. FDC offers a service that suits families, during day, after school, over night and emergency care. There is a lot more to FDC than what most people think. We need them urgently in the bush.

  1. Qualified staff who are available to work in child care are becoming as rare as hen's teeth.

Why? Wages are very low.

Few staff go back into child care once they start a family - the hours are not family friendly.

Child Care Centres prefer to have stable, full time educators to ensure that important attachments are developed between educators children and families. This is a vital element in meeting NQF quality requirements.

So we need to encourage educators to return to the child care sector. We need better wages and more flexible working conditions without compromising quality child care care



  1. I have worked as a kindergarten teacher in the child care industry for a number of years. During this time I have seen the kindergarten classroom change from a non profit educational institution to a highly profitable business being traded on the Australian stock market.

I would like to see this enquiry address the following issue:

Is the government childcare funding intended to contribute towards teacher salaries, facilities and resources for our children, being pocketed as extra profit by unscrupulous business owners?



  1. As a registered early years teacher in Qld, I am one of many who find themselves in a frustrating predicament. I achieved outstanding results at university (6.33 GPA), outstanding practicum reports and was assessed to be a High Performing Teacher by the Qld Department of Education. Upon graduation, I was lucky enough to attain a teaching contract in a year one classroom. After 4.5 terms in the classroom, a bad case of Appendicitis cut my contract short. Once I had recovered, I found that changes to the department's staffing calculator had forced many contract teachers out of their positions. I have spent 6 months actively seeking any type of school teaching job. Recently, I made the decision to widen my search to ECT positions only to be shocked by the disparity in wages and work conditions for ECTs with the same level of responsibility as school teachers. In recently accepting a new ECT position, I have lost access to 8 weeks of paid leave, must work a 38 hour week, and take a pay cut of $10 000 per annum. Whilst I am happy to be employed, I can't say that this situation will be sustainable long term, or that I wouldn't leave my ECT position if a school-based position arose.

  1. In regard to nanny services becoming eligible for reimbursement, how do you guard against the open-endedness of possible nanny costs? 30% may be a small proportion of fees, but in terms of absolute costs it may well be significant for those nannies who are paid better than average (and I do not begrudge them that). A similar argument applies for those childcare services with fees well above average. Perhaps the reimbursement proportion could be based on the wages of workers (with centres, this could be average wages), to ensure that there is no price-gouging happening at the expense of the taxpayer.

SA

  1. Working on the administrative side of childcare, I see my colleagues who have varying training, ECT, Diplomas, Cert III, struggle to keep up with the 'paperwork', taking them away from the real reason they are in this profession - the children. Let's streamline the system so that the children come first and staff can dedicate their energy in giving them the best start possible, not sweating over the paperwork.

NSW

  1. As the Coordinator of a privately owned education and care service I am concerned about how these reforms are handled. Some of the issues are "Over East" problems, and you need to remember that not everyone lives in inner Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane. There are still services that have vacancies and don't charge excessive fees.

Everyday I see parents who are using the system correctly with CCB and CCR helping them to pay for their child's care. Sadly, everyday I also see people who abuse the system. Parents who are claiming CCR and 50 hours when they don't work. Parents who claim CCB and have CCR paid directly to them, but then leave an outstanding account which is never paid, then moving to another service to do the same to them. Parents using the waiting list as a way of avoiding looking for work/study, then when offered a position, avoiding taking the position for a few weeks with various excuses, preventing a genuine family from taking the desperately needed position.

We are operating at 95% occupancy, so we do have some vacancies. I am concerned that if Nannies are offered subsidies, during our operating times, our occupancy will drop and I will be forced to lay off staff. Out of operating hours subsidies for Nannies who have a Certificate 3 is appropriate, but needs to be policed tightly. As for subsidies for Grandparents, that is a ridiculous suggestion for many reasons including Grandparents not wanting to go "back " to study and if they do, they would be taking TAFE spaces from our potential work force, and what about the families who don't have that support network? It's not a functional idea.

I think we need to refine the system we have. It's not broken, it just needs fine tuning.


WA

  1. I coordinate a program for 8-18 year old kids with moderate to severe disabilities in OSHC setting, in a low socio economic LGA. I have concerns for the Governments understanding of the desparation my families feel at the prospect of being denied this service due to lack of Government Funding. My families have nowhere else to go, as they struggle with raising a child with moderate to severe disability, some families with 2 children with disabilities, and maintaining a job. The focus always appears to be on mainstream services and yet my families do not have the eventual luxury of their child being able to care for themselves. They need care beyond their 18 years in order for parents to continue to access the workforce. Equality in services availability for mainstream children and the lack there of for children with disabilities desperately needs to be addressed. As for wages, the working environment that my staff and I endure everyday, in no way reflects the income we are on. We have children with dual diagnoses that have extreme behavioural issues to children needing continuouse personal care, feeding, suffer from epilepsy are non verbal,needing mobility aids, etc, etc. When investigating the industry, please do not neglect the disability sector, that are in need to be able to access the same services and entitlements that mainstream families are entiltled to and have access to.

NSW

  1. disappointing that reduction in qualifications and checks are considered , good staff good care, parents want to be productive they need assistance , don't change the NQF again

QLD

  1. As I have mention before to education minister, regarding child care industries.

There are lot of student who has done Diploma in Children Servises than why it is not in SOL list, As you know this is a very fragile industry and all the students workers are skilled than government should think for students. Instead of calling asylum seekers and refugees.

I have mention this thing to Education minister but still there is no answer.



VIC

  1. Much is said about flexibility for parents, but I have worked in the industry for 20 years and

  • I have found families are happy with the current long day care hours.

  • In talking about extended hours it is as though it is vital for pre-schoolers, but when children go to school, at the ripe old age of 5 suddenly flexibility of hours ceases to be important at all! Opening up benefits to be available for minimally regulated care, makes a mockery of the millions of dollars spent in creating quality educational childcare and opens up the opportunity for some to rort the system

VIC

  1. School principals being responsible for ensuring schools offer before and after school care, including care for preschoolers.

Does this mean that the school is responsible for employing the care staff and operating the OSHC service?

WA

  1. There has been a lot in the news recently about Non working parents taking up child care spaces. This is incorrect. If Susan Ley bothered to read the Child care Handbook she would see that any centre that receives benefits from the government MUST follow the priority of access rules.

1st priority - Children at Rick

2nd priority - working/studying families

3rd priority – social

If any centre did NOT follow these rules they would loose the CCB funding. We have had too negate these fears with parents.

Please get your facts right!!!!!


TAS

  1. I work in Tasmania where the Kindergarden/pre school is actually offered within the school system. This seems like a much better outcome than the mainland where long day care centre's offer it. For one thing it's actually classed as school so they are enrolled in the school they will be attending helping with numbers for the school. Two they have access to a fully qualified early childhood teacher. Three it is paid for by the state government which is cheaper for families. Four consistency of a regular teacher with specific outcomes required.

Five it helps reduce the cost of Child care if you don't have to pay for a full time teacher who usually gets more than the director which won't sit well.

Long day care should be left as caring for children who are too young to attend school. But having said that the NQF is an improvement on "Glorified baby sitters" Just need to step up the training for new recruits as well as some of the older generation who still see themselves as babysitters and gripe about the NQF because they don't want to understand or learn it.



TAS

  1. As a private childcare operator for 19 years and a mother of four children, , I have embraced the changes in early childhood, that have been introduced over the past five years. I have been privileged to witness the difference high quality care makes to children. Higher child to educator ratios directly relates to children developing a stronger sense of security. (as all research supports)

I have out endless time and money into ensuring that my staff are highly qualified and professional. The difference in the quality care having qualified, intelligent educators with good communication skills, understanding of children.and who scaffold, extend, plan for and challenge cannot be underestimated.

To seriously consider not having Diploma qualified educators for children under 3 is disturbing, as it points to a total lack of understanding of children.

Caring for one or two babies is very different than looking after up to 35 babies and families in a week, or 15 on a day. You need highly qualified, organised people who have strong theory and are very capable.

My four children went to preschools before the National Quality Standards and believe me there was huge scope for improvement. I believe the NQS has improved pre-school quality and it would be a giant step backwards to exempt them from this system.

In general, why do we want to go backwards in quality? Who would choose to have a lower quality care ? We have already gone from 52 standards to 7. The 7 standards that are left are the basics needed for high quality care.

Grandparents. nannies-how do you police that? I am sure most parents would be happy to sign their children into their grandparents care 5 days a week and not actually leave them there. Win/win? Grandparents get lots of money and don't actually have to look after the children. The government have just commissioned a compliance team-they will need to triple that if they seriously think a system of nannies and grandparents will not result in a hugh increase in rorting the system.

To see babies being held, read to, sung to, playing outside, given time, attention and having all their needs met-this is what the National Quality Standards, new regulations and EYLF have brought to childcare. Todldlers, preschoolers being engaged in such a stimulating, literacy and numeracy rich environment in which all skills, abilities,are developed. Where children have a choice of indoor or outdoor play because we have higher educator to child ratios. Where children are safe-because of Diploma Qualified, better child to educator ratios.

Please don't put Australian children' s health, safety well being, learning and communication skills at risk. We want a society that has teenagers and adults with good mental, physical and emotional health.



VIC

  1. I am a Chilcare provider.

Iit is very disturbing to see the regulation of pay increase without much consultation with provider. It was a push based on union and worker crying pain of low wages.It has now finalised that new pay scale is on motion effective from 1st July 2014.The rediculous joke is that the government had scaled back on pay increase subsidy and go for training input.The government get the service proivider to bear the extra pay burden.It is no wonder more of providers is so discourage and many centre are going on sale.Only the big player will servive. it is another story liken to wolly and Coles which end up only servive in the competition. All other small market are suffering. Please know that there are a lot of genuine educational providers who believe what is fare and square that is profit and performance of staff must be an equal factor It is not just all about pay rise.

NSW

  1. * The Bega Valley Early Childhood Directors Network embraces the National Quality Framework which has improved quality of preschools for children, families and the community.

* We recognise the link between quality and qualified staff. Qualified early childhood Teachers more likely to have the skills in terms of funding accountability and educational outcomes.

* Funding for 3 year olds is vital to ensure the viability of rural preschools.

*The Commission needs to take into account the important and unique role preschools play family support in rural communities who are more isolated from services provided in major cities.


NSW

  1. I would be pleased to see Preschools attached to school being regulated by the school/Education Department. I have worked in Preschools attached to schools in Australia for 9 years. As the Director I have always felt like a square peg in a round hole, trying to manage all the regulations from both school and OECEC. Previously, I worked in the UK, in this sector, for 18 years and Preschool aged children there are part of the Education system. I found this system to work much better - feeling more connected to the school, providing better transitions for the children.

QLD

  1. Community Kinders Plus is a not for profit Kindergarten Cluster Management organisation that currently manages and supports 17 kindergartens across Frankston and Mornington Peninsula employing 100 staff.

We are pleased to see the recommendation to continue with the provision of 15 hours of kindergarten for children the year prior to school entry. We have seen significant benefits for the children during the last two years with the introduction of 15 hours of kindergarten. Returning to 10 hours of kindergarten provision would be a detrimental step for children, families and the Early Childhood Education and Care sector as a whole. Australia which has long been regarded as a leader in Early Childhood Education would lose this standing very quickly.

The recommendation to remove the tax benefits for not for profit organisations would be the end of a majority of kindergartens as the added tax burden would make them financially unstainable.

Removing dedicated preschools from the NQF is a flawed decision and would once again divide the sector which has only just become a cohesive one in regards to quality, laws and regulations.

Research shows that children's brain development is at its greatest from 0-4 years of age and the recommendation to remove the quality of care for children under 36 months is a very poor one and will have significant outcomes on children's learning and development. Long term it will cost the country in terms of interventions required. I would suggest investigating the financial equation developed by Jim Heckman about the saving for every dollar invested in early childhood.



VIC

  1. I have been involved in the Care and Education Industry for 20 years now – working for Services and now owning my own Long Day Care Service in NSW (I have owned my service for almost 14 years).

I have seen many changed in this Industry over time – some great and some not so good.

The introduction of the Early Years Learning Framework and the National Quality Standards has brought some great changes to programs / Services but also brings lots of paperwork, stress and in some cases, tokenistic things to meet standards required – something that I don’t agree with. I have seen many instances where Services have gone out and gotten chickens, rabbits, etc. to educate children about sustainability but it is not embedded into the programs and children are not learning the real meaning of sustainably. This is just one example and I am sure there are many more.

Australia needs to have regulations that are the same for each state – this includes same ratios, same level of qualifications, etc. The requirement for Early Childhood Teachers in Care and Education Services is not necessary. I have Diploma Qualified Educators who run beautiful programs and have been devalued because of this requirement. Having Early Childhood Teachers into Long Day Care Services does not mean better quality or great programs – it just means Service Owners are paying out more wages for higher qualified Educators and this is being passed onto families as fees go up and up to meet the demand of qualified teachers required.

I have had to seek temporary waivers for these positions and pay a fee to obtain them – which is absolutely ridiculous. I cannot understand if you have a university qualification and you are good at what you do, why would you want to work longer hours in a Long Day Care Services? This makes no sense to me. There are so many wonderful Educators leaving this industry because of the changes that has been brought about by the National Quality Framework. We need to place more value on people who want to work with children and help them to stay in the industry – not drive them away with higher qualification demands and paperwork. The requirement for ETC in Child Care Services needs to be scrapped – there are so many Diploma qualified Directors that are now trying to study, run Services and deal with the day to day demands of directing Services – this is going to equal massive burnout and once again, great people will be leaving our industry. It needs to be stopped and some common-sense prevail. If we must have ECT in Services, why can there not be on-the-floor training like there is for Certificate III and Diploma?

The system needs a massive overhaul and things need to go back to basics where Advisors come into every centre – without notification and check to ensure the Centre is meeting high quality (meaning that there is programs happening that cater for all children, learning is documented, correct staff to child ratio applies, and all the basic things are covered). There should be no need for assessment visits if Advisors are regularly coming into Services to ensure everything is being done to the highest quality. As it currently stands, having an Assessor come into a Service for 1 or 2 days means nothing. They merely get to see a snap shot of what goes on (which is why it is so easy for Services to do so many tokenistic things during the visit) and in most cases, Educators are so nervous and stressed that they can’t explain things and feel like failures if things are not observed by the Assessor. Why does this industry need to be so difficult? The main focus for Child Care Services needs to be caring for children, providing environments where children feel safe, secure, loved and of course, happy. That is what every parent who leaves their child wants – they are not interested in reading pages and pages of information on EYLF or NQS, they want to SEE their child happy and having fun at the Service.

The National Quality Framework needs to be axed – it is pointless advising Services when their assessment is going to be. I have heard of Services that call in relief staff for the days to ensure correct ratio, Centres swapping resources to ensure that they have adequate natural elements in programs (both inside and outside) as well as doing all of these wonderful things for sustainability and recycling (but they only happen at the Service during the assessment visit).

The required documented evidence is also such a waste of time – why should Educators have to do all of this paperwork (observations, learning stories, reflections, programs, critical reflection, etc. with everything demonstrating links to the EYLF) for Assessors – this is not why Educators chose to work in this industry. We want to work with children for exactly that reason – working with children, not completing pages and pages of documents so that we can use them as evidence during assessment visits. There must be an easier way to ensure Services are operating at high standards and the children are being well cared for???


NSW

  1. Don't change the NQS, we need it to support quality care.

Don't change the ratios, we need them to support every child in our setting.

Don't change the qualifications, again, we need them for quality care.



For every dollar invested now into early childhood education the government saves five time later.

VIC

  1. I am strongly opposed to take the Diploma qualification requirement from Under three year olds. We KNOW brain development is extreme in the first FIVE years, let us lead the way in supporting the best outcomes for our babies by educated professionals working with these youngest children.

I am strongly opposed to taking the SCCB from vulnerable families. This is often the only way we can engage families and children in education and care, so that modelling and support may go towards better outcomes for children.

VIC

  1. I am surprised, concerned and overwhelmed by the idea of watering down qualification requirements for educators working with children under 3 years old. The first years of life are critical to a child's brain development and the interactions and experiences that children are exposed to shape the person that they will become. It is for this reason that it is imperative that passionate, educated and high quality people remain working with young children. Without qualifications staff will have limited to no knowledge around brain development, theory regarding positive behaviour guidance and techniques to support developing skills which in turn will lead to poor outcomes for children as well as many serious incidents that could be prevented if the right people are employeed. I am concerned for the amount of educators who will turn to this profession as a last option job because there is no requirement for study. Our profession has worked hard to be recognised and respected and watering down qualifications is going to reset all the hard work we as a sector have done. The children of Australia need the chance to be surrounded by high quality, caring educators and parents need the comfort of knowing that the people looking after their children know what they are doing. If the country wants to continue to encourage mothers to return to the work force, watering down qulaifications is not the answer as Mothers will not be inclined to use ECEC as they wont trust that their children are in good hands, afterall ANYONE will be able to work within the centre. Children are the most important component of Australian families, please treat them with the respect they deserve and do not water down qualification requirements.

VIC

  1. By having affordable, child care fees whilst still providing high quality child care allows parents to get back into the work force and be given a peice of mind that their child is being cared for in a stimulating, safe and educational environment.

Increasing fees and taking away benefits will force our parents to stop work to stay home with their children which will make a negative impact on the Australian economy and the child will miss out on vital learning and school readiness.

AUSTRALIA'S ECONOMY, AUSTRALIAN FAMILIES AND AUSTRALIAN CHILDREN NEEDS CHILDCARE SO IT CAN RUN EACH DAY!!



VIC

  1. Restricting the CCR by means testing could result in many families to re-think working. Child care costs play a significant part in the family budget and the impact of the CCR is a major factor. Children in particular would not have the benefits that are provided through early socialisation.

NSW

  1. I am and have been the Director of a large community based service for the past 12 years and worked and studied in the ECE field for the past 27 years.

I welcome the Productivity Commission report into ECE and agree with some of the preliminary findings in the draft report.

I would like to add my support for the reduction of red tape and unnecessary workload that accompanies the NQF process. I agree that although founded on good intentions, it has become an industry unto itself and has had little or no impact on the level of quality for the children in care.

It is also right that people should be able to choose the type of care that suits their needs be it family / long day-care or grandparents, and that all should attract some funding from the Federal Government. The certificate 3 that so many purport to be desirable within the industry is irrelevant and costly and does nothing to filter the standard of candidates to the industry. It is also insulting to demand that people who have worked in the industry for 10 + years, should need to undertake such a qualification without any financial incentive to do so.

I agree that licencing and standards should be handed back to the states.



I have devised a simple and cost-effective strategy that could replace the NQF process AND ensure that parents have a direct method for raising concerns about the quality of care their children receive which would then allow the targeting of funds towards ensuring compliance within the CC industry. It would also provide the Govt. with a tool to ensure that operators were not frauding funds. Please feel free to contact me anytime.

SA

  1. I am a University student studying Primary Education. I am also employed at an Outside School Hours Care facility. The experience for me has put me in front of my classmates, The social learning is far greater than of a school yard because at School they can play with their friends of their same year/age/class level whereas at O.S.H.C they need to learn to interact with different ages, show empathy, respect for others. These early lessons help children to be confident in themselves and in socializing. We are required to document some of these learning outcomes on a daily basis however this should only be used internally for the director and it's employees. OSHC should be a time for children to play, explore and develop friendships in a playground environment and not have expectations and outcomes measured. My last point is that we should be supporting our families and workers by having a flexible opening and closing times dictated by the needs of the parents-supported by the Government.

QLD

  1. As the Educational Leader at my service, I fully support the retention of Qualified staff for under threes. Qualified staff fulfil a very important purpose within a long day care service of ensuring high quality programs that will support learning and development to its optimum for all children in their care.Under threes particularly must have best quality programs to ensure maximum development possible. This can only be supported by qualified staff and there is any amount of research that supports qualified staff =high quality program= best outcomes for children. Our future leaders must have access to high quality staffing for their learning and development

VIC

  1. Research tells us that the first three years of a childs life are critical for optimum development thus the most qualified should be directing services for the youngest members of our community. Those working with children need to understand development from 0 to 8 years as a minimum to be able to adequately support childrens leanring and development and experience across these years must be maintained in training courses. I have first hand experience of struggling secondry students being made to obtain Cert 3 to enter the work force who should not be in this industry. The work of early childhood is becoming increasingly complex and the field needs highly qualified practitioners working with the young that will ensure benefits in the long term to our community. Any changes should be in the interests of children, , If the chief focus is getting women into work this inhibits mothers participation in their childs learning, it would be better to ensure jobs are waiting for women when they return to work. families need choices.

VIC

  1. I would suggest increasing government expenditure towards the NQF and national assessment as that ensures that children are learning in services that are more than adequate and assists centre to meet standards.

Continue to implement the EYLF curriculum definitely.

I think early childhood education qualifications need to be looked at as from what I gather certificate III in children’s services doesn’t provide enough experience in quality education. It’s these lower positions including diplomas that spend a lot of time with children and programming, and it’s there you lose quality in a service – they aren’t getting paid enough for what they do so they provide lacklustre care. In saying that bachelor degrees in early childhood need to be recognised pay wise for what they are – a four year teaching degree.

Provide an enriching, child orientated, indoor/outdoor curriculum that is flexible, affordable, open 24/7, with early childhood education bachelor qualified only teachers staff that are appropriately paid, with a 1:6 teacher child ratio at all centres (I wish!).


VIC

  1. Oh My goodness, to even consider dropping the need for higher qualified educators for younger children is ridiculous. So many children are in care from the early hours to late in the day. They often go home to busy households and then it's time for bed. The need for well qualified educators in the early years should be mandatory. And then to even think about increasing the number of children to educator ratio - I say work in a service that follows "under the roof line" rules. 20 children to 1 educator, throw in a few children with high support needs who are not eligible for funding and then see what happens. No wonder there is such a high turn over of staff. But then perhaps there wont be much of an issue because children from vulnerable families wont be able to access child care anyway. Early education will only be available to the more affluent. What is the government thinking - dont they know it costs less to get it right now or perhaps it doesnt matter because they wont be around to see the effects! Unbelievable.

VIC

  1. I would like to make a comment about unqualified people caring and educating 0-3 year olds. Research tells us that the crucial time for Brain development is from 0-3 years of age. Research also tells us Highly skilled and qualified staff provide the best outcomes for children. So why would we be allowing unqualified people educate children in the prime of their brain development. Shouldn't we have the most qualified and experienced educators teaching this age group?

VIC

  1. I have read the Draft report and am concerned about some of the recommendations which would not support the best outcomes for young children. The youngest children in care need the most empathetic and qualified staff to work with them. Reducing qualification requirements to a Cert. 3 is not acceptable. Granting nannies with Cert. 3 qualifications will be impossible to regulate unless there is a major increase in licensing staff, so I do not support this recommendation.

The ECLS is an excellent innovation particularly as it is to be paid to the service. I also support the notion of a deemed cost of service delivery. This will need to be indexed as CPI increases.

Occasional care is not a financially viable service model (hence little provision by the private sector) so removing the cap on approved places may not provide more access for families. Removing allowable absence limit is a good idea. Care for under 2s should not cost more than other care as this will further diminish the availability and access for families.

Grandparent funding (GCCB) should be continued as an increasing number of grandparents are in the primary care role due to family breakdowns.


ACT

  1. At Natural Choice Nannies we believe extended financial support for nannies makes perfect sense. It would make all the difference to our clients and staff, if this were available. Not only do families experience financial pressure when hiring staff, but it is also hard for staff to find a decent amount of hours and have a good standard of living. The quality of care, and flexibility of having a Nanny at home is priceless. Many more families would consider employing a nanny if a rebate were available. Nannies are preferred by many families, but they people simply feel put off by the fact that the price is so high. Nannies the same experience and qualifications as a childcare professional, it seems only fair to offer them and families a choice in the matter. '

QLD

  1. Child Development: Children develop for under three years of age is a critical period in a child's learning and development. I feel the draft report under values this time of a child's development as unimportant and in significant time of a child's development.

Birth to three years of age is a critical time in a child's development and a time when 80% of a child's brain is developed. An early learning focus based of a play based concept is vital for the growth and development of all children. The proposal for an only care based and not learning experience is in vast contrast to research and expert advice for this age group.

I would like to see the commission re consider their position on this proposal. Birth need nurturing, support and guidance through these important learning years. New parents look at child care services as a vital partnership for raising their children, offering advice and support based on life skills, professional learning's and current research.

Nannies: I would like to see Nannies become qualified and work towards meeting the National Quality Framework. I hope Nannies are connected with a service for ongoing support while working with families. I agree families should be able to employed Nannies to work with families who work outside the normal nine to five hours. Ratios: Averaging out over a week I believe it will have a big impact and contribute to educator over load and burn out.

Stay at home parents: Parents need respite and support for their children. I feel the report disadvantaging the most vulnerable children in our community, I would like to see 15 hours of respite offered to stay at home parent's for on going support and transition for children into early learning kindergarten programs. This will help the children be better prepared for life at school.



TAS

  1. As a director of a community based preschool I have found the NQS a great tool. We received exceeding in every quality area and urge the PC to keep preschool in scope. I would also like to advocate on behalf of the working parents who use preschool services to have access to a rebate or subsidy. Working parents who use preschool are very confused about the rebates.

Please continue to have high expectations of early childood and education on behalf of our children. Parents, educators and children do not want cheap baby sitting. High quality preschool changes the lives of children and families. This is only possible when quality is put before profit!

NSW

  1. I have worked and studied in the early childhood sector for 24 years. I started as a volunteer, then completed an associate diploma at tafe, a degree in EC teaching, and now completing a masters in educational leadership. The comment I would like to make is in regard to recognising EC teachers as teachers. I currently work in an RTO, teaching cert 111 and diploma students on a casual part time basis. I would like to work in a service but the remuneration does not, I believe fairly compensate me for my years of experience and education. It is also difficult to find a service that can afford an experienced and qualified teacher due to the lack of funding to assist services in the high cost of qualified staff. I am dedicated to the EC sector, I have made it my career, but I strongly believe there is no other profession or sector where the wages of the qualified are kept deliberately low to enable businesses to make profit. Education should not be for profit, and teachers should be paid as teachers no matter where they work.

NSW

  1. The research shows that children who attend quality early childhood services have better outcomes for education and work. Early childhood programs are about children and the future and not about workforce participation, although it does support it. We have, collectively,worked so hard for many years and have improved childrens learning opportunities.. I find it both distressing and ttotally inappropriate that the Government is totally disregarding years of botth Australian and International research.

VIC

  1. I would like to see the focus on gaining childcare spaces not keep focussing on costs. I have been an educator for 40 years and cannot see what good reason there was to have us go to four children in care, this has caused fees to rise more than they would have if we had five children. Of course you need to have qualified educators to offer quality care. We need to look at ways to keep Family Day Care in this country as it is a necessary part of childcare in this country, not take spaces away and funding away. I do not want to see a high quality service such as Family Day Care eroded away, to nothing and parents having to turn to back yard services; again.

NSW

  1. Subsidising the cost of private in home care (nannies) by the government is a good idea if it is adequately monitored for quality.

I suggest that Family Day Care providers be subcontracted to do this. They already have the staff and mechanisms in place for assessing 'in home care'. They are currently feeling vulnerable due to proposed changes to their operational funding. They would be eager to scource another income stream to protect jobs and potentially grow their operation.

We should develop initiatives within the child care industry to make it a more attractive option for the thousands of ECT graduates each year who choose not to work in childcare. Regulations and frameworks are not making a difference. Teachers have free choice and childcare is their last option. We need to make it their first choice. Why are we losing these talented graduates to other areas of education? We have to identify the reasons for these choices and work quickly to address them. Services are only as good as the people who work there. Let's do all we can to attract the smartest and most talented educators into the classrooms.

Less administrative demands around programming and record keeping would make a big difference, EC services are trying to solve these issues individually. More direct support to each centre and a mentoring framework would make a huge difference and help grow confidence and job satisfaction.

A more structured, positive and professional practicum experience would go a long way to making Early Childhood a career of choice.

The sector is in desperate need of some confident, clear leadership. We are operating in silos.

A well directed, government funded initiative might be a good catalyst for significant change. ACECQA are working on a National level. The industry needs more local or regional support and guidance.

The Early Childhood industry has been through significant change over the past few years. We need to consolidate the significant gains by nurturing our educators and building their self confidence.

There is a general feeling of being overwhelmed with legal responsibilities and administrative tasks. We need to get the fun back into Early Childhood. We need to spread the good news about what services are doing and celebrate the privelidge it is to work with young children and their families.



NSW

  1. options - within existing funding parameters - for improving the accessibility, flexibility and affordability of childcare for families with diverse circumstances

I wish to point out to the productivity commission that not enough resources are directed to rural and remote children’s services and our experience with inequities in the Family Day Care sector.

It is already well established that the Family Day Care Model is of great benefit to rural communities where often no other form of recognised childcare and education services are viable. Our service has provided family day care to the rural sector for 20 years and has first-hand experience of the additional challenges involved in meeting the education and care needs of children in rural communities.

As a service who began in a rural shire but had to adapt and extend into regional centers to remain viable we have first-hand knowledge of the additional challenges to meeting the needs of rural families. Our service is consistently challenged to recruit educators in rural areas and have significant waiting lists for quality, flexible, education and care in our rural communities.

The Australian Government is about to cut Community Support Program funding to thousands of Family Day Care Services across the country. As the criteria becomes more clear it would appear that most “Inner Regional “ services (the classification of our service) will maintain their funding, however there still will exist a stark contrast of responsibilities and challenges for different services within the “Inner Regional” definition. Some services are servicing only regional cities; other services within the same funding bracket are largely rural where significant extra costs are incurred to support quality family day care. Where there exists a large enough population, a variety of care and education options exist for families but in almost every one of the small towns and villages where our service operates we are the only licensed education and care service that can meet the needs of working parents or families with higher needs and we have a waiting list of families. There are still many more towns and villages or country areas where we have no family day care at all.

From January 2014 Inner Regional Family Day Care services were no longer eligible to apply for the Regional Travel Assistance Grant. This grant in no way covered the cost of extra travel to support rural educators and was an administrative burden, but did at least recognise the extra cost to rural services.

To improve accessibility and affordability of childcare and education to our rural communities a redirection of some of the funding removed from the vast majority of family day care services to rural services would go a long way to addressing these issues. It is our belief that where family day care services can demonstrate a significant rural footprint additional support must be available to provide incentives for new educators such as a rural educator start-up grant. In addition a higher level of Community Support Funding be available to help subsidise the additional cost of rural educators.



NSW

  1. As the Director of a centre in a regional town it is virtually impossible to find qualified educators. There aren't any incentives for them to work in the industry when the local supermarket is offering higher rates of pay. Child care isn't a job where you can just walk in and out of, you are taking responsibility for the care and wellbeing of someone else's child so quality costs. Pay rates need to improve to keep the quality educators in this industry. We have high standards at our service and are finding that even though educators arrive with a qualification they aren't any where near the standard they need to be at in order to work in our service. There is a lot of extra in house training that takes place to get them up to scratch and in saying that the training organisations have a lot to answer to. In a small town with a large percentage of low income earners and unemployed we find that these families just aren't able to access our service due to the high cost even with the 100% CCB. Unfortunately these are the families that fly under the radar as vulnerable children and they are the ones we need to be accessing our service to ensure that they are safe. Another concern within the childcare industry is the educator to child ratios. 1 educator to 15 children over the age of 3 isn't quality care. Working in the industry for many years I have noticed the change in the 3 year olds and how dependant they still are. For example out of 30 3 year olds only 60% are fully toilet trained. This sometimes leaves one educator to assist 5 or 6 children with toileting and accidents can occur daily of up to 4 times. How can you even offer the basic of care- supervision, and at the same time expected to be providing an educational program and support for the other 9 children on your own with no assistance. 10 children aged 3 to 4 would be much more manageable. Educators have a lot of pressure on them from the families in regard to the children's program although do not receive enough programming time to complete task and therefore are taking work home each night. Dedicated educators wouldn't be as concerned with doing work out of hours if their wages justified this. Educators working with children in the 4 to 5 age group receive 2 hrs programming a week although a Kinder Teacher in a stand alone service can receive up to 8hrs a week. The same standards are expected from both educators so it would only seem fair to be able to offer them the same amount of time. This is also the same for educators working with the younger age groups, you cannot produce quality without the time to do so. In summary we need to have better trained educators, higher paid educators, to lower the cost of childcare for the unemployed and vulnerable, lower the child/educator ratio for the over 3 year olds and increase the programming time to increase quality.

VIC

  1. If the Commission is looking at 'productivity', then perhaps they should consider the longer-term productivity of children who attend QUALITY early education services. Quality early education only occurs when staff are fully trained, of sufficient quantity, and valued as respected professionals. Families are supported in their parenting roles and children are given the best opportunity to become caring and competent members of our society.

Cutting back hard-won improvements to the education and care sector is COUNTER-productive. Productivity is not a short-term issue, and it's not only about monetary value.

VIC

  1. I am an ect and in my six years of experience working in the early childhood sector I have been appalled at the lengths owners go to so they can cut corners and thwart the system. I have left many centres for this reason.

Some examples are

completely under resourcing do that educators must bring in even their own paper if they want the children to paint, and flour if they choose to make play dough.

Understaffing so that if the director "realises a staff shortage they won't even start looking for a replacement until nine o'clock. In the same centre, food was brought in that had to be prepared but nobody was added to the paucity if staff to cover preparation. Instead, assistants were meant to leave the rooms and sort, cook and deliver food.

Under feeding is a problem in some centres. Although food was provided in one centre, the budget to cover the food for 150 children for the week was $100. The children lived on bread and rice.

It has been my experience that many owners only look to the bottom dollar. They would like grand dividends for little outlay and exploiting young children is their means of fare.

Staff are not treated properly in some centres. Staff are expected to take on many many hours of unpaid work to keep the centre floating. Fir example over a 2 month period I documented 90 hours of extra work I had done, unpaid, to prepare transition statements. I wasn't even given a thank you, let alone any recompense.

When, under the current system, owners so blatantly my street staff and children, why is there any thought that relaxing conditions will make owners be more giving.

Ratios are there for a reason. Ratios cover the amount of children with appropriate staffing AT ALL TIMES. Averaging out ratios across the centre or across the week will mean children are not adequately supervised. If you have a room with low numbers for most if the week so have I worker, when 22 children come through the door, 1 worker will be totally inadequate.

Personally I do think that more flexible hours would be an important change to bring in. In areas where parents work shift eirk( eg near hospitals. Or in mining towns) extended hours that cover the shift would be a great asset. However in so saying, it would be important to limit the hours a chd can be in care on any particular day. All ready there are far too many children left in centres from open to close for the entire week. I also think shift penalties should be paid for night or weekend shifts. Childcare workers are already underpaid.

Childcare work is complex. I feel this should be reflected in higher requirements of study rather than lower requirements. I felt it was dismal when the advanced diploma was no longer a requirement for directors, but to remove the requirement if diplomas as well means that chikdcare centres would be run to much lower standards. I believe your current ideas of relaxing standards for qualifications and for staff child ratios would lead many many children at the mercy of money hungry merchants and would be to the overall detriment of our society.



QLD

  1. we need to focus on families and how best we can support them including reducing costs but also better wages for staff

NSW

  1. Hi, I have been working at a highly qualified centre for 6 years. I believe in high quality care and education for all children. We are not just baby sisters or child minders, We are educators just like teachers. The most important lives are that of a 0-5 year old. They learn the most through these years and at this age we are able to notice behavioural and developmental issues. At my centre based at PMH for Children we write observations on the childrens interests and goals, we have portfolios which provide input from parents and this all forms our program. If all centres were highly qualified and had an Kindy Teacher to guide them and develop them their would be no problem.

If somehow the government could provide all staff with information regarding EYLF and Professional Development rather than us having to pay for it, it should be standard! There is no excuse and I get an above award rate as I work at a good centre. Licensing need to step in and start resolving issues rather than just warning centres. Ratios should be standard for all centres and their shouldn't be large groups or overcrowded play areas with a range of children. Children are not given quality time if you are supervising a large group of children. The Government need to act now for the future.

The paid parental scheme probably won't work,I understand for parents that have great incomes but what about single parents or mothers who work in low paying jobs like Childcare they may not have this option. I am currently getting paid well but travel around 2 hrs each day to work at a quality centre who pays me well. I think all centres should have either a Kindy Teacher or 2 Qualifieds in each room!



WA

  1. /have you asked a child's view about their views the proposed changes ? I assume many people would think children under 5 would not be able to express an opinion. Because they are not given the opportunity in most cases. But they do really have a voice. They are not invisible ! They do have rights. One of their basic rights is access to high quality education and care. (Reference United Nations on Children's Rights, ratified by Australia in 2010).

NSW

  1. Lowering the number of qualified educators to the number of children puts at huge risk- meaningful authentic one on one interactions and the flexibility to assist a childs curiosity and encourage discovery. Not to mention the obvious fact that the safety of children is increasingly difficult to maintain as the number of children increase. Not only does this lead to more accidents and mishaps it creates a sense of instability and distress in children when they sense their environment is not safe or their caregivers are not providing their much needed safety net. Lowering staff numbers would be thoughtless and irresponsible.

TAS

  1. I am very concerned about the "deemed" cost of care, as per the suggestions for the streamlined subsidy of the CCR & CCR. This must be contextualised to the location and demographics of the service. There is a risk of this "deemed" cost not covering the actual, practical cost of childcare, resulting in families paying more than they currently do. This would defeat the purpose of the PCI, by NOT providing accessible and affordable early education and care.

Redirecting funding from the PPL into the sector would increase workforce participation as working families would have access to more affordable education and care. Services would also be able to increase places and expand services as they would feel confident in the long term investment in Early Childhood Education and Care and be more willing and secure in expanding. This would result in achieving more accessible early education and care

tas

  1. As an Early childhood team we have discussed many of the issues raised in the Draft these are just some of the points we all agreed on :

Yes there does need to be flexibility in formal childcare for families who are shift workers. This does need to be supported by Government funding and policies and Educators paid as other shift workers in the workplace.

However , lowering the qualifications of Educators for the < 36 mths is viewed as a huge set back in quality and defies the research in early education and care.

We do support changes to reduce bureaucracy in the National Quality Framework but we are cautious as we have so little detail of changes.

Whilst we acknowledge parents need financial support with formal childcare the real issue of Educators wage and working conditions has been ignored . The Team believed this to be the real reason why people are rapidly leaving this profession .

Many of the staff have two jobs to get any quality of life or to support their families.

We believe that if Governments truly believe that Early Childhood is vitally important to the growth and development of our nations children then this should be reflected in their policies and not viewed purely as a by product / service to their economic policies. We also need Policies with vision for the future !



QLD

  1. I have worked in the Early Childhood industry for almost 14 years. I have worked in the one Centre this entire time as I love where I work so much.

My concern is that there is such a push for Early Childhood Teachers to be employed in services but does it really change the programs and quality if the Service is already operating with quality? A high quality Services does not need Early Childhood Teachers just as a teacher working in a low quality Centre does not necessary make any different to the quality. The quality of the Centre comes from the top – the owners, the managers and the directors.

I have my advanced diploma and 14 years’ experience as a team leader and would be devastated if someone had to be employed to run my room just because they have university qualifications (who then makes the decision who leaves that room as they are not needed anymore?)

Each of the Team Leaders at my Service are Diploma trained and have beautiful educational programs for the children and don’t think it is fair that for a Centre with 60 places we should have to have 3 Early Childhood teachers - seriously what will they do differently than myself who has run the room for 14 years and other Team Leaders that have been running a room for 5 years. I would also like to know how a Service is meant to afford to pay 3 university qualified teachers and keep fees low for families???

I have read a lot of different posts on various forums that discuss about employing early childhood teachers and what people have had to offer to be able to hire these teachers - things like higher pay, school holidays off work, etc. In long day care we are open all year round without the numerous holidays that schools have – this is the demand of parents working all year and having children that are not yet at school. At the end of the day an early childhood teacher would not be doing anything different to Diploma trained Team Leaders. A lot of other comments have been about how these early childhood teachers still need to be trained (as most going into early childhood have no experience), they are lazy and don’t believe they should have to do a lot of routine tasks (because of their training / university degree).

Families are always complaining about the increasing cost of child care. Having to employ early childhood teachers is a big part of this as you have to pay more wages as well as the increasing running cost of the Service. More wages, increased costs = more money families are paying out and for what??? I have spoken with several services who employ university qualified staff, only to be told that the programs have not changed nor has the quality / standard of care.

My boss has been trying for a long time to find an early childhood teacher to no avail - hardly any responses and not people who have the experience or the qualities that we are looking for. The Centre is not going to hire just anyone because they have a university degree. I would love to know what an early childhood teacher would do differently to a diploma qualified educator who is passionate about working in the early childhood field and wants to make this a career – not just a stop before getting a job in a primary school.



NSW

  1. Do not exempt Preschool services from assessment under the National Quality Standard. For too many years these service types have flown under the radar. How can preschools be deemed to be providing adequate care, safety and education if they are not assessed? All service types should be working towards the same level of quality and monitored accordingly.

The child care rebate should be paid directly to the child care service. Far too often families leave a service in debit yet pocket this subsidy. This should be considered fraudulent.

The proposed new form of assistance (ECLS) will no doubt result in unaffordable child care for many families and the impact of this will be detrimental to the wider community.

Families will be forced to terminate their child’s enrolment or abstain from accessing quality early childhood care and education.

Families will seek alternate care arrangements such as from unregistered, unregulated backyard home care operators of dubious experience and qualifications.

Early education centres, particularly those located in regional and rural towns will not be financially viable as a result of a drop in occupancy levels. Most will be forced to close. For many regional and rural communities it will result in closure of their only child care service.

Closure of these services will affect ALL families. Entire communities will bear the impact of this change.



NSW

  1. ECEC services are education services - just as important as any primary, secondary or higher ed service. - they are not 'child care' service, they are education services and I am horrified that Dr Wendy Craik used the term 'child care', it truly reflects the commission's and the governments views on this industry and profession.

We are not preparing children for school. We are teaching them now! We are teaching children the skills they need in their life now and life long skills.

Learning starts at birth not 6 years of age when they go to 'big school'. We know from lots of research that the most important learning years in a persons life is the first 3 years of life.

There is no difference between long day care and preschool services except the opening hours.

Grandparents are not qualified educators - they are a fantastic alternative to caring for a child when the parents are at work - but they are not educators.

Recognizing 'nannies' as educators is a good idea IF they are qualified and required to abide by the NFQ, NFS, Regs, EYLF and undergo assessment and rating. Other wise its not regulated and its not fair.

This year the fees of my service went us $5 and the award made changes to cut $3 from educators.....THIS is why people are leaving the industry and why families are finding it difficult.

Children highly educated, from birth right through to university, are a massive benefit to society.

It is unfair to expect and request ECEC services to have 'extended' hours. We are education services and I don't know of any other type of education service, such as primary school, secondary school or even OOSH services, that are open past the 6 pm mark. Children need to be home with their families! Instead of making this industry become more flexible to families that work 'shift' hours how about asking the workforce to be more flexible with working parents!

The only way to improve this industry is to pump money wisely into it.

Educators in ECEC services get paid shit all

Extend hours funding for children with exceptional needs should be considered

Higher qualified staff = higher quality education

It would be a safety risk to decrease the number of highly qualified staff. These are the lives of peoples babies and children! Would you like someone poorly qualified to be responsible for your baby for 7 hours a day?!

Extending the hours / providing out of hours care for preschool aged children - before jumping the gun on this recommendation considerations of appropriately qualified staff, ratios, curriculum and physical environments need to be considered.

I am horrified that the funding for TAFE has been cut to make it similar to private providers of early childhood qualifications - TAFE is one of the highest quality providers of qualifications in the ECEC industry! - this will case the cost of acquiring a qualification very high.

Educators aren't paid high enough to warrant spending thousands of dollars on a qualification (see point 16)

Points 16 and 17 above, will result in people choosing other professions and not entering the ECEC industry - surprise, surprise, this will result in less educators = shortage of ECEC services!

There is a LOT of paperwork now required in industry by the educators on the floor - the solution to this issue is actually NOT to reduce the amount of paperwork but to allow staff to manage it successfully, most services provide 2 hours per week per room for the educators to 'program'. This is not enough time. Half -t to - one hour a day per educator in ever room would be much more effective in managing paperwork, staff stress and quality of planning curriculum.

In the commission draft Figure 11.4 showed that early childhood teachers were paid significantly less than primary school teachers? WHY is this? With a Bachelor of Early childhood Education from an approved university, you are qualified to work in primary schools up to children aged 8 years. So if someone is qualified to work in both primary and early childhood services WHY are they paid so much less?

I'll tell you why: because society and especially THIS government, believes that teachers working in ECEC services aren't using their degree as much as a teacher in a primary school - because they view ECEC services as baby sitters and not education services!!!!!!! It's fucking bullshit!

I am disappointed with the commission, generally. It seems to be very much a numbers game, looking at ways to make it cheaper and more accessible, rather than concentrating on the quality of education. I feel that to change this industry, money needs to be spent, higher wages, higher qualified staff, better educators to child ratios, more time for paper work off the floor are just a few. I really believe that to achieve better early childhood education in this country higher respect for the industry as an education industry is the fundamental starting point.


NSW

  1. Accessing affordable childcare is a big challenge for many of the families. I welcome the recognition that the overall level of childcare assistance needs to be increased.

Keeping quality educators is a big challenge due to low wages. A pay rise is needed for every educator working in the industry.

WA

  1. According to the NQS QA 5 Relationships with children, how do you expect to have a relationship with a high volume of children's program, when the ratio is being questioned?

You need to put into consideration the school based programs, that have multiple classrooms, indoor and outdoor play.

We require qualified educator's to be working with our children, its like any field, you need a qualification! what makes our industry different? In order to maintain high quality of care, we require qualified educators that have a strong philosophy in educating children, and not just supervise children. In society these days, children's needs and wants are becoming increasingly more demanding. Eg children with allergies, illnesses, additional needs require extra care and knowledge.

Everybody is on the same page with DOC, understanding needs and requirements of children. The qualified educators provide planned programs that assist children's needs which develop their life skills, positive behaviour, social development, ownership of their behaviours and wellbeing.

The risk in not maintaining ratios creates absconding children, incapability of providing smooth functioning learning environments and maintaining the safety of children.

The benefits of maintain minimum ratios enables us to form strong foundations + relationships with children and families. We learn about all children's needs and assist them with transition in the real world.

We have become a stronger and more advanced industry. Why should we be stripped of our hard work. Our new NQS has been introduced to develop all children's education before they reach a secondary level.



VIC

  1. As a coordinator of Education and Care Service there a lot of expectations from the services and staff across the country

The child care sector is vital footstep for the future generation and requires much recogntion for the work they deliver on daily basis.

Changes such as better coordination unit support / training / pay increase to educators is definitely needed.

The cost of trainings are already increasing before the funding cut has taken place. Most services, if not all will heavily suffer financially


NSW

  1. As a worker at primary school OSHC I am proud of the high standard of care we deliver here for children and parents. We are constantly analysing and evaluating our standards and procedures to improve the care for all. When I read that it was suggested to water down the national quality standards I was shocked, why take a back step after various communities have worked so hard to reach the point where they are at!

Having fewer staff on will drastically reduce he amount of attention and quality care we can provide for the children attending, it's a huge risk not to maintain minimum ratios as you must be prepared for any situation which may occur. It's also quite offensive to me and undermines the provision of quality education and care. I think it's important that the minimum ratio remains the same, for carers, children and parents.

Connection with OSHC has been of great support to families at the school, especially vulnerable children from disadvantaged families. They know we are here to help and always accepting.



VIC

  1. As an educator whom has worked in the sector for over 17 years i strongly oppose the draft recommendations for Childcare and Early Learning.

I have huge concerns particularly with the proposed ratio changes and non requirement of qualifications for educators directly working with children under the age of 3 years.

These years are the most signification and valuable years of a child's life. Extensive brain search shows that between conception and age three, a child’s brain undergoes the greatest amount of change which supports their learning, memory, and other cognitive abilities. As educators we are in a position to provide best possible outcomes for children and their lives by playing a significant role in their early childhood development. To have untrained educators, working with watered down ratio's is certainly detrimental to children and their ongoing learning throughout life.



TAS

  1. Ask yourself.... Non qualified nannies? Would you leave your most valued precious gift with someone you don't know? Someone who may not speak English and understand your child is in danger? Someone who has had no experience working with children and your child does something dangerous? Are you ok that when your child attends school they will be developmentally behind their classmates because their English will be behind due to lack of excellent communication? What happens if your child as additional needs? Will an unqualified give them the education, support and care required? Or do you want to close your front door and as soon as you've left the drive your child is put in front of the tv all day? Research UK Nannies qualified NNEB against unqualified. In years to come you will regret this decision!! Don't reinvent the wheel look at other countries mistakes and not make the same!!!!

TAS

  1. Concerned with the proposal to rollback NQF, especially in relation to qualifications. Lack of recognition of the crucial importance of educating infants. Great acknowledgement of the fact that educators are underpaid but the solution of increasing parent cost is not an appropriate answer.

TAS

  1. Dear Productivity Commission,

First thanks for your effort and great job for making Childcare and Early Learning Childhood Learning more flexible and affordable to both families and Australian Tax payers. I would like to take this opportunity to forward my comments about the best way the socio economic disadvantage families can benefit the child care system. To gain those communities children the most basic early learning education, I am suggesting the following points;

Educate the families how the childcare system works and their responsibilities to use it for the benefit of their children.

to make the information on their level of understanding not normal middle class language which most of the Departments use.

To reform the RTO Curriculum for adding how Australian taxation system works, Most of the educators from that communities never work before, so they need to know how system operates, not to pick up wrong information from the street

Also training and information must include the importance of Early Learning of child has the rest of children life. If the children miss this valuable Early Learning Education, then its both the educator and the parents that may take much of responsibilities, not only the services and the system only.


VIC

  1. Don't understand or believe in placing all unqualified staff with children under three. Do parents of these children know about this or given an opportunity to voice their opinions about it. Probably not! Children of any age are important but under 3 are the most vulnerable and need to have their care needs met first and foremost. Disgusted in how we are treating our future generation.

TAS

  1. Early childhood education should not be lessened in quality. Our children are our future and under three years are when childrens brains develop the most. I am studying for my bachelor in early childhood teaching because I am passionate about children's education and want to stay in the sector

TAS

  1. Having worked in both Long Day Care and Preschool settings for the past 18yrs as an Early Childhood Teacher, I have experienced much change. With the release of the draft report from the commission I feel as though educators and service providers alike are increasingly more uncertain about the future of early childhood education.

The recommendations talk a lot about making education and care flexible, accessible and affordable to increase workforce participation and whilst I acknowledge the validity of these measures, surely quality has to fit into that equation if this approach is to be successful.

Quality education and care doesn't just happen. It takes skilled professionals to create the relationships, environments and pedagogical practices that support learning and development in early childhood.

I strongly support the proposal for the Government to continue to provide universal access to a preschool program in the year before school. Perhaps as part of the long term funding model further consideration could be given to how this may be adapted to more effectively meet the needs of the wide cross-section of providers in this industry, in particular rural services who often rely on the enrolment of younger children to make their services viable.

Quality education and care for the children and families of Australia. The decisions that we make now will impact greatly on the future of early childhood education in this country - lets make them responsibly!



NSW

  1. Hello. I am a young member of an education and care service and I have only been working full time for a couple of years. Still in this time I have fallen in love with my work. I love every part of my job, working with all different families, children, and staff. I believe I truly have a great, important and fulfilling job, but it is also very hard work.

I have quickly learnt that in this job you have to constantly be on your toes, prepared for anything. You need to not only care for all children in ways that are obvious to most, but in ways that are not so obvious. Also you need to be a positive role model at all times of the day and even if some people do not believe us, we do need to become strong educators.

When I was told about the discussed possibly changers, involving ratios and qualified staff. It made me very upset, and I don't feel like a small comment like this one gives me the opportunity to really express why I know these policies should not be changed in the way that have been suggested. All I can say is what has been suggested is incredibly unrealistic, and I can not personally see myself continuing my role in this service if these changers are put in place. I truly love this job, but it is so incredibly hard at times. These changers would only make my job harder. To a point where, as a young person with my whole life ahead of me, it would be silly for me to stay in a job that is a continuous battle. What I'm trying to say is, while I am young I have a very real option to leave what I'm doing to go to university and change into another area. I understand I am only one person but this is a real option for many young people. I only ask why give us more reasons to do this.



TAS

  1. I am a qualified educator working in ECEC sector for the last twenty one years. I worked hard for the Big Steps Campaign to get professional recognition for the ECEC sector. We are professional educators and not baby sitters. I am passionate and committed to quality early education and care and is very concerned about the Productivity Commission Recommendations relating to children under 3 years of age.

I have been working with this age group for the last 20 years and understand with experience how important and crucial are the early years in the development of a child's life. Experts through research estimate that more than 75% of a child's brain development takes place between birth and 3 years. To facilitate play based learning, educators need to have professional knowledge and skills. Failing to recognise the importance of 'education' for this age group is a big concern to me as "Quality Matters".

When I began my journey in 1993 in the ECEC sector I was not qualified. I learnt everyday from qualified and experienced professionals and realised how important is to obtain qualifications. While working full time I studied at TAFE to get the qualifications. I became very confident as qualifications improved my pratices and skills in child development. I became a better educator and was able to provide quality play based educational programs for infants and toddlers using theories and practices of early childhood teachings. I have witnessed and is evident that qualified educators offer quality learning programs for better outcomes for children



Please listen to experts in early years education and continue NQF standards as Quality Matters because children of future come before economics.

TAS

  1. I am a university early childhood trained educator and a director of a long day care service. Just today I received an email from a parent complimenting our service on the educational practices we instill daily. the parent proudly boasted how we had educated her child on the government as he over heard the prime ministers name on the news and was able to tell his mother that firstly he was the prime minister and secondly the federal police look after him. Put simply, we are not babysitters. We deserve recognition for the endless and tireless hard work we put into educating young children. Quality care needs to be maintained and in addition become more accesible to families as research has proven that founds invested in early childhood education reduces the need for fundsto; problems in schools. Children have a right to quality. Parents should all have a right to access affordable quality care. Reducing qualifications and increasing ratios roles back quality and would place more stress on all stakeholders, not just the staff. Parents have indicated their desire for lower ratios to myself anf I believe would not feel comfortable leaving their children should the reverse happen.

NSW

  1. I am amazed at the prospect of increasing the ration of children to staff. I challenge any of those who came up with or support this idea to go to a centre and look after and educate by yourself 4 babies under 1 year old. Unless you have a different anatomy to most people, you will only have 2 arms. How can you possibly feed, more than 2 children at a time. How can you split yourself in two so that you are changing a nappy and looking after the children in the room. How do you educate a child to be gentle whilst putting another child to bed and to sleep in a cot. How do you help a child get over separation anxiety whilst assisting 2 other children to paint, learn to walk and crawl. It is physically impossible! If you want to lower the level of care, increase the amount of stress on educators, increase staff turnover, decrease the professionally of the whole sector, then this is the way to go about it.

WA

  1. I am an early childhood professional. I work in a community kindergarten that was rated exceeding the national standards and this was the first time that we had experienced the national accreditation system. I have adult children and within the next few months my first grandchild will begin child care while his parents work.

There is no doubt that the federal government injects an enormous amount of money into child care and education. I completely agree that this funding needs to be effectively used.

It is essential that families have choice in their ability to access a range of early childhood settings. It is essential that there is equitable access to families across Australia.

The results of NQF accreditation show a resounding high quality of standards in community Kindergartens that is not replicated to the same degree in 'for profit' child care centres.

If funding is to be effectively used then quality of care is intrinsically linked to the role out of funding.

I welcome a parallel review of NQF alongside the productivity review.

I very much hope that when my baby grandson begins chid care that it will be a wonderful experience for he and his parents. The quality and training of staff will have a direct impact on whether this occurs or not.

I implore the commission to consider the significance of the educational qualifications of staffing for children of all ages to the value of care and education of children in care from birth onwards.

The productivity of parents in the workforce will be influenced by the quality of care that their young children receive.

The low rates of pay that many child care workers receive has a direct impact on the stability of a Childcare workforce and as a result an impact on the effectiveness of child care services. Funding models must address this.

Finally I must emphasise that not for profit early childhood services have a resoundingly high quality of care and education. Sustained funding of these services makes complete sense. The productivity report needs to address the effective use of government funding to Centres who make a profit and cannot reach acceptable standards. This is an ineffective use of government funding.

Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts.


QLD

  1. I am concerned with the proposal to reduce qualifications requirements for educators of children aged zero to three years, I believe families need reassurance in knowing that when they choose to leave their children in an early learning enviroment that they do so with experienced and qualified educators who are compentent to know and understand their child's developmental needs and assist with their learning. This is a fundamental part of children's early learning, being supported by compentent, educated staff to provide best outsomes for the first 5 years of their life.

Accessing affordable childcare is a big challenge for many families. I welcome the recognition that the overall level of childcare assistance needs to be increased for this reason.

Children from disadvantaged backgrounds get the biggest benefit from accessing quality early learning and care. It would be a backward step if access to early learning for disadvantaged children became harder.



WA

  1. I am writing in response to the PIC for Early Education and Care Sector. I have been working in the sector for 20 years and have experienced working along side children, families and colleagues to achieve positive outcomes for the nations children. I have utilised Education and Care for our children and grandchild and feel strongly that we must keep the rights of the child at the forefront of this inquiry as they are the ones truly effected by the finds.

We must keep the National Quality Standards as they exist today-Do not roll back any requirements that will under mind the sector that we have worked so hard to build and create quality for all stakeholders. We must maintain ratios as it will support educators to provide learning environments and also retain those educators that if ratios were increase would simply leave the sector as it will be too stressful to stay. We must keep and strive for higher qualifications as research suggests the impact of people sense of worth and the importance to children to have appropriate educated people working with them can not be understated. We must have highly qualified educators working with children under 3 as this is proven with most current research that under 3 is the most critical in childrens learning and development not over 3 years.

I am asking you to keep the NQF as it is do not change and drag us back to 30 years ago-



Australia need to be leaders in this arera!

TAS

  1. I believe that education and care for the young children from 0 - 5 years old is very important because it has a life long impact on their future learning and development. Therefore, the early childhood educators who provide care and education for the young children need to have necessary knowledge and skills about child's development (ie: at least certificate III or even a Diploma) to nurture and guide the young children in their vital learning and development period as the foundation for all of their learning and development later in life.

I believe that early childhood educators deserve a recognition and funding support from the government and public for their important role and responsibility in caring and educating the young children who hold the future of our nation and the world in their hands. If we want prosperity and a better life for our country and our future generations we should invest our energy and capital in the young children lives and their education.

VIC

  1. I believe that the yearly years are critical years for establishing sound foundations and positive life pathways, to enable this we must have highly qualified staff caring, nurturing and educating children prior entering into formal schooling. To also integrate health, care, child care and education as universal services offered pre-birth. Schools in WA are now evolving and engaging community services however the child care industry have not been funded to also offer these services. Many children attend child care prior entering the school system and to provide early intervention child care needs to be responsive to family needs and offer additional programs.

WA

  1. I chose to work as a child care educator because I believe in the importance of educating children from infancy for a sustainable future. As an educator with 8i years expereince and a psycholiogy student i strongly believe in the importance of education and care in the early years.Good staff child ratios with highy trained staff, particularly for our most vulnerable children - those under 3 - are vital. Education is not just about reading and writing. It is about holistic development of the child. It does not commence at three, but begins at birth. Maslow, Bandura and Vygostsky's theories all support the importance of responsive social contact, qualified educators with knowledge and training to enhance role modeling and in creating environments for cognitive learning that will assist in future learning. Due to the factors I mentioned I strongly believe in the importance of quality and the value of educators and that children learn and develop from an early age. Children are our future. Cutting expenses such as educator qualifications to assist in budgeting is not appropriate, and will in the short term and longer term prove harmful. I note the Commission believes that there are insufficient studies to support the need of tertiary level training for under 3's, however you do not seem to hold information that it is not beneficial. I find it dehumanising that children's education is being viewed primarily in terms of how it aids the return of women to the workforce, and that yo would suggest children under 3 need minimal education and care when research shows this is the most beneficial time for learning, with maximum brain development. The recommendations of care with no education componenet and trained staff for infants and toddlers should be reversed.

NSW

  1. I feel the most affected service in this whole change is Family Day Care Educators. Perhaps a model to keep them in a paid situation before announcing the funding loss would benefit everyone including the coordination units. Currently there are hundreds women out there who don't know what their future income situation is going to be because there are no clear guidelines as to whether they will be abe to continue to work from home without a service or whether they will have to be in home carers which many of them don't understand this system. Come on how would you like to left in limbo for the next 9 months wondering whether you have a job or not. This same situation applies to service staff.

NSW

  1. I fell that the govenment does not put enough credit as to what early childhood educators job actually is. It seems the Abbott government believes we are just baby sitters and should be paid accordingly. This concerns me considering the countless research done all over the wold that clearly states how important a child's first five years is. I do not see how taking away regulations for educators to have to be qualified is benifiting the children or the families. I know I personally wouldn't leave my child in the care of an unqualified educator especially as the government continues to change the educator to child ratios!

We all know Abbott wants mother's returning to work yet He refuses to support the one facility that is able to help them do so!

TAS

  1. I have been working the industry now for over 20years and in the last few years I have seen and implemented changes for the better. Once recognised as only a ‘baby sitter’ or just ‘childcare minder’, now through the introduction and support of the Early years learning Framework and the National Quality Framework I can now proudly call myself an Early years Educator. This is a standard I proudly stand up for, not only for myself but for all dedicated educators. We all deserve to be recognised for the hard work we do and the quality care that is provided for our children, our families and our community.

I strongly recommend the assessment and rating service to stay in place. Every child and family deserve the respect that they will be educated in a quality rated centre. I believe it has the capacity to improve the quality of service provision across the board and it will help to create more uniformity in practice. I have seen some poor programming and practice in ECE settings over time and some really require a good wake up call.

NSW

  1. I have concerns with the increase of family separations, resulting in only one parent requiring childcare. CCMS does allow absences to assist however, at present our service cannot accommodate week on week off bookings. Parents requiring this service are unable to afford the full booking fee and are left with few options.

Another concern is the increase in the number of children with diagnosed behaviour issues, our services are struggling to accommodate this issue as it increasingly demands more supervision

QLD

  1. I have read other submissions, parts of the Commission's draft and listened to presenters on Monday 18 August in Melbourne. I have a degree in education and became a grandmother in 2012 and have already made a submission to the Productivity Commission.

Several ideas have emerged after the hearing. Quality early learning experiences are a first priority. Access and affordable places are seen to be a close second. Monitoring quality early learning experiences appears essential.

The activity test needs to be equitable as does the sliding scale for benefits.

The market based service providers seem to be concerned about the new nanny initiative. Their ability to work flexible hours and have the appropriate safety checks and qualifications will help families working outside the nine to five routine.

My preferred approach is that children under three require plenty of reassurance to help build confidence and resilience. Talking to children, reading stories and providing appropriate feedback is essential as they play and make sense of their world. The part time working Mum can provide this feedback with support from a childcare service and grandparents. These Mum's save the government money as do the grandparents. The child under three gets the emotional support required to develop language. This is vital.

While staying in Bath UK, there was a village green nearby the school with play equipment where families stopped to chat and some of the children played.

This sense of community after a school day seemed a lovely way for the children to unwind with their school friends. This is after school care with a difference. The parents are valuing being social and taking an interest in their children, after school.

There's still plenty of time for everyone to be productive. Stress levels may be kept at a reasonable level, as well.


VIC

  1. I have worked in a variety of roles in the early childhood profession for over 20 years. Throughout this time we have been affected by many changes, most often politically based. Some have had a positive influence on our sector however I feel that the suggested changes in the draft productivity commission, specifically those watering down staff/child ratios and qualifications of educators will have a profoundly detrimental effect the children we educate and care for, their families and our profession.

I urge you to consider the reams of supporting evidence that details the importance of highly qualified educators for children under the age of three years.

It is appalling to think that there is a possibility that these recommendations will come into effect.



NSW

  1. I have worked in Early Childhood Education for 23 years and believe it is essential for educators of all age groups to hold a Diploma Level qualification or higher. Excellent progress has been made in recent years to ensure that all children have access to high quality education and care through the vital early years. Current research upholds the importance of informed educational practice to the mental growth and development of 0 to 5 year olds. Early childhood educators need to gain the knowledge and skills through tertiary qualifications in order to provide the best education and care of our children. Australia should be a leader in Early Childhood Learning and not be taking a backward step.

TAS

  1. I have worked in the childcare industry for over thirty years. Over those years there have been may changes. The NQF is another change that is there to bring about best outcomes for children in childcare which I agree with. The problem for most Out of School Hours services is that the facilities are usually below standard for the children and the educators. Changes need to be put in place for centres using school buildings making children and educators have a feeling of belonging where they can be and become what the NQF and regulations promotes which is the best outcomes for children. It is a struggle for Services using space in schools that don't have enough storage,no adequate office facilities, and having to constantly negotiate for space making sure children are always safe and we are following regulations.. The government must think of adequate spaces to be designated to oshc services within schools to help with the growing numbers of children attending these centres. These children children whose parents need to work for whatever reason need to be looked after in the best possible way by the whole community.

NSW

  1. I have worked in the industry for over 15 years, over the years I have seen massive improvements with education and program and practice. What really concerns me is the proposal to reduce qualifications requirements for educators of children aged zero to three years.The first three years of life are a vital part of a child’s development, having educators who understand and contribute to each child’s development is important. Its amazing the amount of learning that is captured from babies to preschool children. This should not be compromised moving forward.

VIC

  1. I have worked in this field for 10years and the last 6yrs as a director. I am so disapointed with the idea that educaotors qualifications would be reduced for children under 3.

The children i have watched grow and develop from young children under 3 at our centre are so well adjusted they are creative, caring and respectfull children due to the care & eduaction our educators provided. i see the learning and skills that our children are capable of when given the chance! So much happens in the first 3 years of life.

However know this doesnt just happen it is the room and program that the educators provided that makes this happen and it does at my centre and it does because we have qualified eduacted people running our rooms. If this changes so will the quality of education for young people.



VIC

  1. I own and operate a 37 place centre and we strive to provide high quality ecec. We have embraced the NQF and the EYLF and love how it fully guides our practice and our Philosophy. We are proud of our achievements and find no elements of it burdensome at all. We value all the children and especially feel our children under 3 deserve qualified educators. If we do not provide high quality care at this level, then we are not supporting them to grow into confident individuals with high self esteem ready to venture into their next room and then school. We have to provide the best for them at this earlier age. It is even more crucial we get this right before they turn 3. We all feel very strongly about the NQF being retained as it is. I DO NOT SUPPORT REDUCED RATIO'S - UNQUALIFIED EDUCATORS - RATIO'S AVERAGED OVER THE WEEK OR THE ASSUMPTION THAT BABIES JUST NEED CARING FOR. THEY ARE EDUCATED AND CARED FOR AS ONE - Education and care cannot be separated. It is a whole, as the child is a whole being and so deserves the respect of its country to provide the best opportunities for it to succeed. You have this power to continue to honour our children with the fantastic NQF as it stands.

TAS

  1. I support the productivity commission’s commitment to the provision of quality, affordable early childhood education and care for all children in Australia. We support the combination of current subsidy schemes into a single child based scheme, however named. It is important that all services approved as eligible for this scheme be regulated and monitored under the National Quality Framework (NQF) as a minimum standard. Eligibility should be based on quality standards not service type. What is the perceived benefit of providing up to 100 hours of care for a family that meets the 24 hour activity test. This removes accessibility to hours for other areas and this money could then benefit other areas of community needs.

It is imperative that the qualification and ratio requirements within Early Childhood services are maintained or increased. International research is clear that quality learning environments in programs facilitated by well trained professionals has positive impacts on learning and development of children. Universal Access to 15 hours of Early Childhood Education (kindergarten) must continue across Australia. It is essential that funding is maintained while the federal and state governments negotiate an ongoing funding formula. Additional costs cannot be passed on to families. Delivery of funding through the school system without the maintenance of the NQF will erode the requirement to maintain standards of safety, education and care that meet the needs of children below school age. Every child should have access to fully funded education programs, regardless of service type (kindergarten, Long Day Care, Occasional Care, Family Day Care) which needs to be balanced across all age groups to support their individual development, education and care. This could be funded as follows; 15 hours for 4 year olds, 10 hours for 3’s, 5 hours for 2’s and 3 hours for 0-2. Appropriately qualified educators must facilitate all programs. Kindergartens coming in under school regulations rather than early years regulations need to have appropriate consideration of the impact that the change will have on current requirements such as; toilets, ratio, supervision, fencing, school age framework / early years outcomes. These are currently suited to the developmental level and requirement of the child and include the holistic approach of the National Quality Framework. To remove kindergartens from the NQF would deny children and families the assurance of quality and consistency that this provides. School age entry needs to be reviewed to be in line with international research into child development ages and stages and school readiness. If the kindergartens move to the school system will this then negate this debate or will it assist with changing the whole school level age system from entry at Primary school to exit at end of high school. Lifting school entry age is a must, particularly in relation to evidence coming for the Netherlands and Germanic states. Kindergarten could be made compulsory to highlight the importance of this year in a child’s development in learning the importance of self, communication, social and community skills required for preparation for the school community .Flexibility requirements and cost impacts are very different in regional and rural communities to those in the cities and metro areas. Travel distances, access to qualified staff, specialist services and income levels of families need to be taken into account when allocating funding. There needs to be the promotion of positive attitudes towards shared family friendly arrangements, particularly expanding to fathers and the role they now play in the care of children. A realistic costing for quality education and care should be carried out and supported by the Commonwealth government. Quality of training needs to be maintained for all age levels of education and care in all service types. To deem a child less than three years less worthy of a fully trained educator at minimum diploma level displays a lack of understanding of current research that promotes the values of education of children in the first 5 years of their life and its future benefits that come from this as they journey into adulthood. Children in any type of care environment should have the benefit of the NQF. Any service that receives funding from any government should be required to meet these requirements to ensure that all services are providing quality, measurable and consistent education and care standards. Opportunities for Family Day Care models should be extended to support the supervision of people providing ‘funded’ in home care arrangements eg nannies, grandparent carers. The NQF offers consistent quality education and practice across the service sector rather than individual services dependant on individual management and staffing. There is also the need to improve the design of the assessment and ratings system in particular in improving the timeliness of responses to services and agencies in all matters relating to findings, notifications, compliances and training queries. This would entail an immediate review of application and enforcement of the NQF and the funding and staffing to suit. Under the current guidelines, there is no value in the supervisor’s certificates. The qualifications, recruitment, and ongoing professional development maintained by the approved provider are adequate to ensure that the service meet all requirements under the NQF. Further information on the productivity commission’s view on zoning needs clarification. We support the elimination of building requirements in Childrens regulations where the building code meets or exceeds the children’s regulations.

The expansion of options for the provision of services on a variety of sites should rest solely on the adherence to quality standards – the NQF. The increase or decrease, of education and care places should be related to quality first, needs second and site as a final consideration point. While the inclusion of Early Childhood Education and Care within the school system has benefits in the recognition of the educational value of the services it does not recognise the developmental differences of children below school age and has the risk of creating a ‘poor cousin’ early years structure within the school. While funding is directly tied to specific age groups or needs – kindergarten and working parents there is no possibility of ‘siphoning’ off funds for other functions. The Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development is currently understaffed to meet the needs of early childhood education and car environments. The Draft Report from the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Childcare and Early Learning provides a starting point for discussion on the future of services for children below school age. I would, in closing, like to point out the use of the currently accepted terminology Early Childhood Education and care rather than the archaic use of the term Childcare and Early Learning – which erroneously separates the two functions – would continue the progressive move to supporting quality outcomes for all children.



VIC

  1. I understand that there should be no compromised to educational and care services.However, Australia is a diverse Nation, and with that comes varying degrees of challenges.

As a service provider in the FDC sector, these challenges faces us every single day. Ranging from financial difficulties in the side of the parents to language difficulties in those working as educators.

Despite all these challenges and the already scarce resources to meet these demands,we as service providers are working extra hard day and night to make sure we meet and possibly exceeds standards of the education and care regulations, yet our work seem to go unnoticed, instead, met with even greater challenges.

The reform is digging a close pit to the bottom minorities, both the service providers and the those using the services.

I wish the government to consider all the factors involves in this complex yet extremely important industry prior to introducing radical changes.



NSW

  1. I would like to see the Government pay for two days per week for child care for ALL parents and to bring back the 1:5 ratio for under 2year olds. However, stipulate that it is 2 children under 1 yr and 3 children over 1. Also not changing the ratios for 2 - 3 year olds. Also it would be nice to see long day care centres recognised as doing the same valuable job in educating and caring for children as preschools. The 50% rebate needs to stay as this is essentially a big help to working parents. I believe that if the Government paid for 2 days per week for all children it would offer all children the opportunity to attend a centre. I would also love to see all children entering formal schooling the year they turn 6 so there is a maximum 12 month gap from oldest to youngest. In NSW it is up to 18 months and I think this is really unfair to these young children put into these situations.

NSW

  1. I would like to strongly disagree with the commission's recommendation to cut the qualifications of educators working with children under 3 years of age to a certificate lll qualification. All the recent research into early childhood development including brain development, shows the importance of providing quality experiences to children in the first 3 years of life. Our service provides a teacher for the 0-3 year age group in the belief that this is providing the children with greater experiences in language, all areas of communication and importantly, self regulation.

I would also strongly disagree with the recommendation to simplify the National Quality Standard. Our National quality Framework is something to be proud of and should not be tampered with. All early childhood education and care services including preschools, should be obligated to comply with the standards and meet the high expectations we should expect for the children in our care. National ratios should be continued to be increased as there is research evidence to prove that increased interactions with children provides a higher level of quality. By reducing the levels of staffing, you reduce the opportunities for staff to interact with individual children on a daily basis. All degree trained teachers should continue to study the development of children from birth to at least 5 years of age as this is the best way for teachers to gain a full understanding of the development of children. Student teachers should not be allowed to be counted as ratio for teachers. They are simply not teachers as they are yet to be fully trained and it sends a negative signal to those teachers that have been fully trained and may have years of experience and confuses parents. I agree with the recommendation to combine CCB and CCR into one subsidy to be paid to the service. However, of concern is that families who do not meet an activity test of 24 hours of work, study or training per fortnight will not be able to access any subsidised child care (Draft Recommendation 12.4). Currently families who meet the work test can access up to 24 hours per week of subsidised education and care, if this recommendation goes ahead many of these families will effectively be excluded as they will have to pay full fees. I believe that all children benefit from high quality learning experiences and interactions with other children and that the current provisions that allow access for at least 24 hours of education and care for all children should remain. I also believe that universal access to education and care is the best way to support the inclusion of vulnerable children from families experiencing multiple layers of disadvantage.

I believe the eligibility criteria for the Special Early Care and Learning Subsidy is too narrow (Draft Recommendation 12.7). As the recommendation stands, services will need to make a referral to child protection within a week of applying the ‘at risk’ subsidy. Instead of being restricted only to children deemed ‘at risk’ we believe it should include vulnerable children and families facing multiple layers of disadvantage..

There is no provision for additional financial support for families in crisis. The current support for families experiencing temporary financial hardship will no longer be available. Our service is situated in a disadvantaged area and we have many children from vulnerable families currently accessing SCCB. These children need to be able to access our program for many reasons but it is important that we can provide a quality program by qualified staff that understand the needs of the children and families. Of additional concern is the recommendation to base all subsidies on the deemed cost of child care. Our staff wages are up to 70% of our budget because we believe that highly trained staff and higher ratios will have the greatest impact on these children. Our service would be greatly disadvantaged by this recommendation as our income would be reduced greatly and our families are unable to pay high fees. This recommendation would create a system whereby those that can pay high fees would get a better service than those that cannot. A very unfair system for children.


VIC

  1. If not for profit organisations have to start paying payroll tax just about every service on the North West Coast of Tasmania would be forced to close. Most childcare centres are struggling to make a profit they are only small centres with 50 to 100 places. This would make child care in this area

Unaffordable - $50k pay roll tax over 50 families!

Unaccessable - Due to the number of centres closing due to number 1 would increase wait lists drasctically for the few centres that are still open.

We also need to change the CCR to be paid direct to the centres in one payment.


TAS

  1. I'm worried about educators only required to have a cert three to work with children under three and the importance of their development is not deemed important

TAS

  1. In WA we have for a long time had good staff : child ratios (1:4, 1:5, 1:10). These ratios ensure our children are well supported in their education and care consistently throughout the day. I want to see these ratios maintained and do not want to see averaging of ratios occur as discussed in Draft Recommendation 7.5.

I have also been a strong supporter of the introduction of increased qualifications for educators. The notion of only requiring a Cert 111 qualified educator for our birth to 3year old children is a step backwards with 0-3 year old children seen needing basic child care and only 3yrs and over aged children requiring education from fully qualified educators!! This idea is not aligned with current world wide research or our National Quality Framework.

WA

  1. It has become quite challenging to access child care services in my community. It's also unaffordable and it is quite rigid in its flexibility.

According to the data provided by the assistant minister for education Sussan Ley, More than 268,000 Victorian children were enrolled in formal childcare in September 2013, compared with just 176,350 in September 2007. And these numbers are set to increase in the future.

Most families in my community are now accessing local Family Day care services and in home care services, as it becomes near impossible to access mainstream child care services. Inaccessible, unaffordable and inflexible Child Care service is creating havoc to parents (particularly women) who are keen to go back to work and become productive contributors to their community.

I think it's wise to encourage non-mainstream childcare services such as Family Day Care services and IHC, as these services have major potential in taking off pressure from main stream child care services. Hence, provide parents with secondary options.


VIC

  1. It is good to get support in this sector as we are a industry rearing our future citizens for a better nation. We need staff training on an ongoing basis and resources to be updated regularly as well. As much as child and educator ratio has gone down but still in order to be able to deliver a high standard of care and education, the industry needs to absorb the costs to be able to function to satisfy all needs. Parents are so busy trying to meet their financial needs that they depend on Educators to meet the educational needs of their children and so pre-schoolers and schoolies alike have to be able to adapt and apply themselves at their education institutes. We as educators need to nurture these children in such a way so they can confront challenges in their life ( which becomes tough ) with ease. For these types of nurturing and educating methods, educators do need training and lots of resources.

NSW

  1. On behalf of myself and my colleagues we reject the changes put forward by the productivity commission. We are currently ranked 22nd out of 23 countries in relation to our childcare/early education system. the proposed changes are only to the detriment of the future adult citizens of this country.

It has been shown in long term research that all children benefit from access to fully qualified early childhood teachers and a quality educational programme. We need to ensure that the NQF and the EYLF remain in place and uphold quality standards, we need to ensure that all children in Australia have access to affordable quality education and care services fully funded by the government.

We need to continue to employ early childhood teachers, and to ensure that early childhood teachers are treated as equals to their counterparts in schools.

Funding needs to be returned to the Family Day Care schemes, this is outrageously wrong, to try and dismantle 40 years of caring for our youngest.

What are they thinking, wake up and come into the 21st century, shame on you, we look like a nation of backward idiots !!!



NSW

  1. OSHC should be separate to Early childhood as Primary Years are very different developmental stages, there should be better system in place where Centres/organisations can register objections about assessments in regards to the NQF. The Assessment process is too long and feedback is inconsistent

QLD

  1. Please don't reduce CCB for parents who choose to stay at home to be with their children. They are already struggling to do what they think is right, so why do they have less right to be at an early childhood education centre to learn and socialise with other children. I also don't agree with nannies being able to claim CCB unless it is a much smaller amount then long day care centres do, as long day care centres do so much, and at great expense, to provide the service they do.

QLD

  1. Qualified educators deserve to be paid accordingly, they have studied and attained their qualification. Working assiduously with children requires proficiency, perseverance and tenacity. Educators that possess these qualities should be rewarded considerably.

The cost of childcare fees is then passed onto the families, in which many struggle to meet their financial obligations. A system where the educators are paid in accordance with their qualifications impulses childcare services to increase their fees to meet their wage requirements. Would it be fair to ask that a system be implemented such as the health system, where families can be bulk billed their childcare fees and an annual levy such as the Medicare levy apply to those using childcare.

Many families are also unaware that the childcare rebate can be paid directly to the childcare centre, perhaps if it became mandatory that the childcare rebate be paid directly to the centre, this may assist families in paying their fees and the childcare providers in meeting all the compulsory annual fees and wage requirements.



QLD

  1. Quality is important for the development and safety of children in child care. Without recognition and appropriate pay there will continue to be a shortage of staff working in the child care sector.

TAS

  1. Specialist services for children with a diagnosed disability would limit the choice for families. There would be a tendency for all children with additional needs to attend a few designated services in an area - a far cry from an inclusive environment. Is this the social message we want?

Lowering qualifications for children 0 - 36 months. This does not fit with early intervention - educators are often the first to have discussions with families about some questions about a child's development and these conversations take skill and knowledge - lowering the Qualification to Cert 3 does not support the capacity of educators with this. Where are children undergoing diagnosis in this report? Many children are not diagnosed until over 5? How are educators going to support these children to be included without Inclusion Support Facilitators who can build capacity, challenge current practice to improve environments and provide coaching and mentoring?

QLD

  1. Spending any less than 1% of GDP on early childhood education is internationally embarrassing. While workforce participation is significant, these recommendations need to put children, and their life outcomes, at the centre. In particular, winding back the qualification requirements for our youngest children would be blatantly ignoring the wealth of research on brain development.

VIC

  1. Thank you for the opportunity to respond to this draft report. I would like to say that I would like to echo the response provided by the QIN, having contributed to this on behalf of this service as well as being a QIN Rep.

While clearly lot of research and consultation has gone into the preparation of this report I am still unclear as to the Reports expectations of the role of the ISA and their ISFs. 'There is a clear and demonstrated need for the support of ISA in assisting services to build their capacity to be more inclusive, so how will does the commission see this in action? There is need for the attention on administration as the part of the ISF role to reduced to allow for the focus of their work on the capacity building of educators. The development of a national consistency of the skills of an ISF, the opportunity to network to share knowledge as well as standardised 'qualification' for this role required attention and focus.

There appears to be a focus within the report to provide parents with increased opportunities to return to work, it would seem this the direction has this occur at the cost of Child Care educators and children. Restricting the need for qualification for the care and education of those under three, runs the risk of harm to our children - without training what basic skills will educators come with? What is their capacity to observe, identify and meet the emergent developmental needs of children? And where is the voice of these small people when their greatest advocates are at work? Is it the responsibility of the commission to provide return to work options for parents or something that is the attention of the employer? Under threes in child care need care and education as much as children over this age range and reducing the skills and knowledge of the people we entrust their care to is not reflective we place on our children.

Within the recommendations there are negative outcomes for children with a disability, children for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse backgrounds, Refugee Children, children from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds, children with mental illness and children undergoing diagnosis.

There are some terms that do not place our children with additional needs in a positive light within this report and may run the risk of turning back the clock on all children's inclusion in our community if left unaddressed. All children are equal and their additional needs add a richness and complexity to the human experience that should never we compartmentalised, boxed together or segregated as a means of ensuring fiscal efficiencies.

We have, in the Early Years ,invaluable opportunities to address the inequalities, tensions and miss understanding in our world buy removing the barriers and allowing all children to flourish, as individuals who are a vital member of their community. Thank you once again for this opportunity to respond to your work and I look forward to the positive outcomes for our children and those that work towards their care and education.


QLD

  1. The most importnat thing is Quality early childhood education for ALL children. We all know from life experience that if you want Quality you have to pay for it. While I understand that Early education costs are getting quite high for normal families to manage the answer is not to 'water down' the Qualifications and amount of those providing it and as such lower the quality but rather to somehow supplement the associated costs so we have this Quality care avaliable to all.

Investing in Early education is shown to be a good investment and to recoup savings later in said children's lives. I'm ashamed to be living in one of the worlds 'wealthy' countires and yet to have one of the lowest investments in early edcuation. We need to start putting children first and doing what is best for not only them but their famiiles and our country.

All children deserve a Quality education from Qualified educators!



SA

  1. The National Quality Standards finally saw all early childhood education and care services operating under the same guidelines and expectations. Their was significant improvements to child/educator ratios, as well as a huge rise in the level of training and qualifications required. So why would the government want to change something that was a step in the right direction for our children! We want Australian children to have an optimum start in their education, and research shows that the earlier this starts, the better.

If the government makes changes to the CCB and the 24 hour rate for non working/studying families, the impact on many children,families and services will be huge!

These families will not be able to afford early education in long day care, and will miss out. This will effect all children, but particularly children from disadvantaged families. And how will services continue to operate if they can not run at capacity. This would effect our Centre as we do cater for non working families to fill our vacancies not filled by working families.

The government needs to think long term and not just in monetary terms. Don't undo

a good system!!



NSW

  1. The recommendations are creating an artificial divide between care and education, when they are inextricably linked. Research shows children under 3 benefit greatly when educated by tertiary trained responsive educators and teachers who have an understanding of child development and learning theories. This is not included in any 6 month childcare worker course. As a centre director I am particularly concerned about the recommendations that under 3's have only CCW's and that these groups are not included in the count when working out ratios required for trained teachers. Theoretically my service under this regime could be staffed by 1 trained teacher and 14 CCW's, and still be required to participate in the highly valued NQF system. Really? How am I to teach in the preschool room, program and provide education for the toddlers and infants, mentor the marginallly trained child care workers, liaise with community and establish a sense of belonging in the community for children, assist parents with parenting matters, complete the administration required and model for all carers. What are the children to make of this divided loyalty. For with 20 preschoolers and 36 0-3's I would be the only teacher in the service, and the only one with more than 6 months training. Children don't magically commence learning aged 3, important neural pathways are being layed down from birth. We are educating our infants and toddlers to be creative, thinking, problem solving learners with a capacity to learn for themselves rather than be simple rote learners. That is what the NQF calls for - across all age groups. I don't see a distinction in requirements noted that we should just 'care' for those under 3 in the National Document (NQF) we have been given. That is for good reason. You note there are no longitudinal studies supporting under 3's education. Research and information on infant brain development is relatively recent and there are many studies to support the findings. Longitudinal studies are under way now to support what we already see evidentially in our work. I support the employment of university trained educators and diploma staff in under 3's education for this reason. It is outrageous to think you can discount these children in working out teacher/staff ratios.

NSW

  1. We battle to pay wages as our centre numbers are down. It's fine to have quality education and trained educators but raising costs further will only punish the families in our care.

NSW

  1. We need to keep the 15hrs of funded preschool for every child. Research has shown how beneficial this is for children and our community as a whole. Children deserve teachers and educators with qualifications please keep the qualifications for under threes as a minimum of diploma trained our children deserve this right. Do not water down ratios.

VIC

  1. When a child leaves care issue a separation certificate stating same and must be presented at the new centre before attendance to eradicate serial childcare hoppers, leaving unpaid accounts yet claiming and being paid Child care rebate.

Kindergarten funding needs to be reviewed. Should a child attend more than one kindergarten the funding should be pro rata, not all or nothing. This current situation benefits larger organisations with more clout than smaller businesses just trying to do the right thing in regards to reporting.

VIC

  1. Why do society and in particular politicians still perceive that childcare is simply glorified baby sitting. I can assure that it is not, I went to University for 4 years, most of my fellow students are working in the school system under better working and financial conditions than I am getting.

I am extremely concerned that the 0-2 age is deemed not worthy of having a qualified worker in the room. At times really hard conversations are to be had and these need to come form an experienced and qualified worker.

The industry is in crisis and some of the recommendations are only going to heighten it. who are the winners then.



VIC

Directory: inquiries -> completed
completed -> Inquiry into the dda
completed -> Dear Commissioners
completed -> National disability care and support scheme productivity Commission Submission
completed -> Review of National Competition Policy Arrangements
completed -> Of proceedings
completed -> Vecci submission. National Worker's Compensation and Occupational Health and Safety Frameworks. May-03
completed -> Review of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 a submission by the Australian Industry Group to the Productivity Commission
completed -> Submission: Productivity Commission Study into Science and Innovation
completed -> Submission from vcasp and vbira to Productivity Commission Inquiry into Disability Care and Support
completed -> Australian Dual Diagnosis Recovery Network Inc. Alcohol and Other Drugs and Mental Health Recovery


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