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Time To Take Early Childhood Learning Seriously

The collapse of ABC Learning has presented an opportunity to reform systems of care for our youngest children, now the Federal Government must show the commitment to make it happen, according to Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.

Senator Hanson-Young, Greens spokesperson on Youth, Childcare and Education, says the report of the 12-month inquiry into childcare tabled in the Senate has shown that reliance on corporate providers has not resulted in an appropriate quality of care.

"It's time to stop settling for a profit-driven, poor quality approach to childcare in Australia, and instead focus on creating the system that our children deserve,'' Senator Hanson-Young said.
"We want to see early childhood education and care (ECEC) transformed from a costly, corporate-run afterthought into a high quality, affordable, accessible service for all.

"We need to start valuing our children more, and that has to start with the standards of early childhood education and care, which is critical for the development of our children.''

The Greens' vision for ECEC is based around having qualified staff care for children, appropriate staff-to-child ratios (1:3 for those aged under two, and 1:4 for children aged three to five) and a system that provides the best quality care leading to the best educational outcomes.

"If we are going to achieve these things, then the Government has to use all the leverage at its disposal to reform the system - the biggest leverage it can use is funding,'' Senator Hanson-Young said.

"We don't want to see another ABC Learning fiasco, so the Government needs to provide support and funding for not-for-profit and community providers to ease costs for parents and families.

"In particular, we need to find a way to link funding for providers to standards of care and educational outcomes - in other words, we need to make the Government's money work to the advantage of our children.

"The Greens believe the Productivity Commission should be given the opportunity to review funding models so we can find that mechanism for the Government to ensure quality care that doesn't cost parents the earth.‘'

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