Early childhood education and care has begun to receive the political recognition it has long deserved. During the 2013 Federal election childcare and paid parental leave were topics of fierce debate and both major political parties went to the election with commitments on childcare.
The recent State election in March also saw policies about early childhood education announced, with Labor focusing on the future and committing that all future schools will have either an early childhood centre or OOSH centre located on site, eliminating the dual drop off for parents.
It was disappointing that the Liberal’s main early childhood announcement was about extra money for Outside of School Hours centres, however the recent funding to increase preschool education in long day care is welcome.
The recently announced changes to childcare subsidies are a real cause for concern. The workplace activity test has created a complex, multi-level criteria for determining a family’s level of subsidy and will cause confusion for many families, leaving too many families worse off.