Child care providers will save $430 million in administrative costs over the next decade as part of the Turnbull Government’s comprehensive and “whole of system” approach to child care.
Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham said the red tape reduction was one of a number of changes agreed to by all states and territories as part of a review of the National Partnership Agreement on the National Quality Agenda for Early Childhood Education and Care.
Minister Birmingham said cutting red tape for providers would continue to put downward pressure on prices for Australian families.
“The Turnbull Government is taking a ‘whole of system’ approach to putting downward pressure on child care prices and today’s improvements to the National Quality Framework deliver on a key 2013 election commitment,” Minister Birmingham said.
“Today’s announcement better targets regulations, saving child care providers almost half a billion dollars in unnecessary red tape over the next decade and comes ahead of measures in our child care reform bill to further slash red tape.
Minister Birmingham said changes as part of the review would also increase oversight of Family Day Care providers and build on the Coalition’s increase in the number of compliance checks from just 523 under the previous Labor Government in 2012-13 to 3,100 in 2015-16.
“In the past three years the Coalition Government has stopped almost $1 billion of taxpayer money going out the door to rorters and shonks and our reforms currently before the Parliament will include a range of new compliance measures, including the power to pause childcare service applications for fee assistance.
“Additional oversight of Family Day Care providers will provide better learning outcomes and protect the health, safety and well-being of children with additional support for educators.”
Minister Birmingham said finalisation of the review represented a big step forward in the Government’s plans to deliver quality outcomes in early childhood education and care in Australia in the most efficient and effective way.
“It is the culmination of detailed consultations with the sector, families and communities, resulting in outcomes which will achieve better results for Australia’s children.
“These changes complement the Jobs for Families Child Care Package, currently before the Parliament, which will deliver significant reform for a more flexible, affordable and accessible early education and care system for Australian families.
“We will slash red tape so services can be more flexible in the hours they deliver. It is unacceptable that families who routinely need and use only four, six or eight hours of care, are charged for 10 or 12 hours. Under our reforms, providers will have flexibility in the hours per day and days per week they must open, which is something many have long called for.”
All ministers responsible for early childhood education and care have considered stakeholder’s views and agreed to a number of recommendations for changes to the National Quality Framework, including:
- streamlining the National Quality Standard to reduce duplication and unnecessary regulatory burden
- improving the oversight of and support within Family Day Care
- simplifying the documentation requirements for services providing care to school age children
- clarifying the ratios of educators to children in services providing care to school age children, and
- removing unnecessary regulatory burden
These changes are estimated to save the sector $43.6 million in annual net administrative costs each year over the next decade.
Minister Birmingham said the revised National Quality Standard will strengthen standards in the sector by providing greater clarity for providers and services as well as assisting educators to understand what is required to meet the National Quality Standard.
More information on the new measures is available on the Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority website.