Early Childhood, Education and Care
ICPA seeks to ensure that an appropriate and affordable range of early childhood programs and child care be available to support children and families who live in rural and remote areas. This includes the provision of recognised early childhood distance education programs where there is no reasonable access to an education centre and flexible child care appropriate to families’ needs.
The Federal ICPA team looking after this portfolio is Jane Morton (portfolio leader), Sally Sullivan and Wendy Hick.
Early Childhood, Education and Care Portfolio Reports to Federal conference.
AIC Distance Education Allowance for 4-year-olds
The only means of accessing early childhood education for approximately 280 children across remote Australia is through distance education programs. While states and territories have provided such programs, families living in remote areas wishing to access these are bearing the entire costs associated with taking part in them. ICPA is working to see the AIC Distance Education allowance be extended to this cohort in order to make early childhood programs more affordable.
Universal Access to Early Childhood Education and National Quality Framework Updates
Universal access ensures that a quality preschool program (also referred to as kindergarten in some states) is available for all children in the year before full-time school. ICPA is seeking to ensure this occurs for all rural and remote children.
In Home Care and the Nanny Pilot Program will be replaced by Home Based Education and Care (HBEC) from 2 July 2018.
A recent In Home Care survey was conducted in November 2017 which showed that the future HBEC model needed to be more flexible and affordable to suit our families’ needs.
Mobile Early Childhood Services
Many of these previously Budget Based Funded (BBF) services do not fit the requirements of the New Child Care Package, however PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has been working with these services and we are hopeful that they will continue after 2 July 2018.
Working With Children Checks (WWCC)
Since the Royal Commission into Child Abuse report which investigated WWCC was released, a national working group has been established and recommendations for any decisions are likely to be made in the first half of 2018.
Second Year Working Holiday Visas
ICPA is still working to add Distance Education tutors and Child Care workers to the ‘specified work’ list for second year visas, to enable visiting overseas workers to return to rural and remote families the following year, particularly as these workers are in such short supply.