17 May 2018
Childhood Council says the 1.6% Budget increase announced for early childhood
education centre universal funding is significantly underwhelming.
education (ECE) centres are to receive $104.8 million increase in funding over
the next four years, beginning in January 2019.
This funding is for the Universal Funding and 20 hours.
calculates this averages out at about $12,000 extra for each childcare centre a
ECE will also
receive $483.1 million operating funding over four years to meet increased
demand for services.
Childhood Council Chief Executive Officer, Peter Reynolds, says ECE has been
under-funded over the last 10-years. The
previous government made significant cuts to the per-child rate of funding,
putting services under incredible pressure.
"Many of those
services have struggled on in the hope that this new Government would do
something about it. They haven't. I truly fear for the future of a number of
childcare centres operating close to the breadline," Mr Reynolds says.
"Of course we
recognise the Government has to spend across portfolios, and one Budget cannot
fix the neglect.
have been hearing how important the early years are, and how important
education is, and yet the funding announced today doesn't sit with that
rhetoric. This small increase is of
course welcomed, but it doesn't even keep up with inflation," Mr Reynolds says.
Many of these
services operate in communities where parents cannot afford to keep paying more
and more. At the end of the day, it is
these families and their children that will suffer most, if services have to
cut back more or close their doors.
also has a well-recognised teacher shortage and we have seen nothing here that
will address that, the focus continues to be on schools," Mr Reynolds says.
has signalled an additional 1,500 teachers for schools, but nothing to address
the critical shortage of qualified teachers in the early childhood sector.
Childhood services are also nervous about the Government's signals around
increasing teacher pay rates. While we all agree teachers should be paid
more, the current claim of a 16% pay increase in the face of a 1.6% subsidy
rate increase is frightening for the additional pressure it will put centres
under," Mr Reynolds says.
forces down quality. It will further drive centres to think long and hard
about how many qualified teachers they can afford to hang on to if wages go up
by 16% and Government funding only increases by 1.6%."
The ECC has
welcomed the increase in funding for learning support in ECE, which is much
Childhood Council is a not-for-profit membership body that represents the
interests of almost 1,200 community-owned and privately-owned early childhood
As well as ensuring
the childcare centre voice is heard by education policy decision makers, the
ECC provides our members with professional development opportunities, tools and