All Australian families should have access to affordable, quality childcare. By streamlining funding to reduce out of pocket expenses, the Australian Greens will give all families a guaranteed 24 hours of subsidised care per week and provide $200m to help early learning centres cut waiting lists.
The Australian Greens will ensure all children have access to quality early childhood education and care (ECEC) and that families can afford the weekly fees without breaking the bank.
The Australian Greens recognise that access to ECEC is crucial for a child's development and it's time Liberal and Labor committed to funding it properly. Universal access to childcare and early education is an important principal and it should be central to a much needed overhaul of the childcare sector.
A fairer way
The Greens will streamline the Child Care Benefit (CCB) and Child Care Rebate (CCR) into a single means tested payment made direct to centres. Currently, the CCR is a capped amount that is made equally available to all families, regardless of their income. By combining both CCB and CCR into a single means tested payment, the Greens' proposal would make the system both easier to navigate and better targeted towards families who need greater support.
Reducing waiting lists
With available spaces disappearing and waiting lists increasing, The Greens would initiate a 'Reducing Waiting Lists' grant fund that would encourage centres to apply for funding, allowing them to expand and offer more childcare spaces.
The Australian Greens will:
- Provide a 'Investing in Early Childhood Education and Care: Training Package'
- Invest in ECEC by waiving Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) repayments for early childhood graduates employed in Long Day Care (LDC) centres;
- Extend the funding of Long Day Care Professional Development Programme including the Professional Support Coordinators program.
Supporting our workers
The Australian Greens recognise that properly supporting the early education sector is crucial. Hard working educators in centres across the country are charged with caring for our children at one of the most crucial development stages in their lives. They deserve our respect.
Under the Australian Greens policy, early childhood educators will be rewarded for choosing to work in the long day care sector.
Each year that a person works in a childcare centre the government will cover their HELP debt repayments for them, so that it doesn't come out of their wage.
This way we would encourage early childhood educators into the childcare sector, incentivise them to stay in the ECEC workforce and give them a boost by waiving the entirety of their HELP debt over the years.
The level of government supported repayment would be doubled for people who choose to work in remote and regional areas where demand for childcare educators is very high.
In response to sector concern, the Greens will also extend the funding of Long Day Care Professional Development Programme.