The ongoing staffing crisis across the Early Childhood Education and Care sector has been reflected in recent operational data provided by Australian Childcare Alliances members in a national survey. Conducted in two tranches, the survey showed the majority of ECEC services are being forced to cap enrolments as they simply don’t have enough staff to meet the legal ratio requirements of educators to children.
There are new measures to support the early childhood education and care workforce which include Professional Development Subsidies, Paid Practicum Subsidy and Practicum Exchange. The measures will cost $72.4 million from 2023–24 to 2026–27. The following provides details on each new measure.
Free Kinder will be available for both 3 and 4-year-old kindergarten programs from 2023. All early childhood education and care providers that deliver a funded kindergarten program in Victoria are eligible to receive Free Kinder funding from 2023, subject to meeting specified terms and conditions.
The NSW Government will spend $281.6 million over the course of four years on a set of initiatives designed to increase the number of employees working in the early childhood education and care industry, keep on board current teachers and educators, and give current employees more opportunities to advance their careers.
The Budget has allocated to the early childhood industry a sizable $15.9 billion, which will be spent over a ten-year period, with initiatives announced in the 2022-23 Budget. This is being divided into two categories: those with a four-year period and those with a ten-year period.