Release type: Joint Media Release

Date:

$273.7 million to boost the quality of child care and early childhood education for Australian children

Ministers:

The Hon Julia Gillard MP
Minister for Education. Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations
Minister for Social Inclusion
Deputy Prime Minister

The Rudd Government is investing $273.7 million to support the introduction of the new National Quality Framework for early childhood education and child care.

When Australian parents make the decision to place their children in child care they deserve to know they are receiving high quality care and education wherever they live across Australia.

The National Quality Framework, agreed in partnership with the state and territory governments, will for the first time set a national quality standard for early childhood education and child care providers across the country.

In real terms this means that all child care providers will be required to deliver better staff-to-child ratios so that each child gets more individual attention, and improve staff qualifications so carers are better equipped to help children learn and develop.

This $273.7 million investment includes:

  • $59.4 million to improve the quality of 142 Budget Based Funded early childhood services located in rural and remote Australia. This will improve infrastructure and staff qualifications to support some of our most vulnerable and disadvantaged children.
  • $81.9 million to implement the new National Quality Standards which includes the first national rating system for child care and early education services, so parents have the information they need to make the best choices for their children.
  • $1.9 million to support new regulatory measures to help achieve ongoing stability in the child care market in the wake of the ABC Learning crisis. This includes developing measures that require large child care providers entering the market to prove their financial viability.

The Minister for Early Childhood Education and Child Care will also have new powers to commission an independent, confidential investigation or audit of a particular provider where there are concerns about their financial viability.

Consistent with the Government’s strict fiscal strategy, these measures will be funded in part through fixing the Child Care Rebate (CCR) annual cap at $7,500 per child per year in line with the Government’s election commitment to increase the CCR from 30 per cent to 50 per cent (from $4,354 to $7,500 per child per year).

It is important to note that 97 per cent of Australian families receiving CCR will not reach this cap in 2010-2011 and so are not impacted by this adjustment.

The Australian Government is committed to ensuring families have access to high-quality, affordable child care with a total investment of $14.4 billion over the next four years to help more than 800,000 Australian families annually.

Overall, the Rudd Government is providing more than $17.1 billion over four years for early childhood education and child care funding.