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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 16962

Prime Minister Deputy Prime Minister; Minister for Early Childhood Education New standards for early childhood education and care across Australia Brisbane 7 December 2009

Photo of Rudd, Kevin

Rudd, Kevin

Period of Service: 03/12/2007 to 24/06/2010

More information about Rudd, Kevin on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 07/12/2009

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 16962

The Council of Australian Governments meeting has agreed on new compulsory national standards for child care and early childhood education services.

This reform will deliver a higher standard of care for children, and clearer and more comprehensive information for parents.

This new National Quality Framework will be phased in from 1 July 2010 and will ensure national consistency in early childhood education and child care services including outside school hours care.

The new framework will include requirements for:

* lower staff-to-child ratios under the National Quality Standard

* new qualifications requirements for all early childhood education workers under the National Quality Standard

* a transparent quality ratings system, which will allow parents to easily compare the quality on offer at different child care services

* streamlined regulatory arrangements, which will mean less paperwork for services, so they have more time to spend providing high quality care

* a new jointly-governed national body between the Commonwealth and the States and Territories to oversee the new standards.

These reforms will improve children's educational, health and wellbeing outcomes, developing the capabilities of the next generation and contributing to Australia's future prosperity.

The Australian Government is providing approximately $61 million between 2010-11 and 2013-14 to the States and Territories to support the new framework. This is on top of the support the Australian Government provides to families through the Child Care Benefit and Child Care Rebate.

We want all Australian children to have a quality early childhood education and care experience and we want parents to be well informed and confident that they are making the right choices for their child.

From years of international research, we know that the first five years of a child's life shapes their future -their health, learning and social development - and we want to make sure that future is bright.

We also know that a quality early childhood education and care experience can help overcome a disadvantaged background and set children on the road to a prosperous and productive life.

Lower staff-to-child ratios will mean each staff member can give more care and attention to each child, and higher staff qualifications will enable staff to guide each child's individual learning.

The new framework was developed collaboratively between all governments and the community and will ensure all providers operate under clear and nationally consistent standards for care and early education.

The National Quality Framework incorporates feedback received on the Regulation Impact Statement, which was released by COAG in July 2009. About 1700 people attended public consultation sessions, 340 made written submissions and about 3000 people responded to an online survey.

The reforms will be implemented across all jurisdictions over 10 years and the Government will continue to help parents meet the costs of child care.

The National Quality Framework delivers on key Rudd Government child care election commitments.

The Government has already delivered on its election promise to pay half of parents' out-of-pocket child care costs - by increasing the Child Care Rebate from 30 to 50 per cent. That's dramatically improved affordability, with ABS statistics showing child care costs to parents have fallen by over 20 per cent as a result.

In total, the Government is investing $16 billion in child care over the next four years - a billion more each year than under the Howard Government - including more than $13 billion to help families meet the cost of child care.

For more information about the Australian Government's early childhood education and child care initiatives, please visit deewr.gov.au/earlychildhood or www.mychild.gov.au.

Transcript 16962