What are the major parties promises for early learning and care?

SmartStart will be keeping a close eye on the policy commitments the major parties make on early learning and care. We will keep you updated on any new promises that are made in the run up to the election.

So far, the major parties have already made significant commitments to make child care more affordable, but are yet to make any substantial new commitments to improve access to early learning and to support the early childhood workforce.

Commitments to make early learning and child care more AFFORDABLE

Labor’ plan is to:

  • Lift the maximum child care subsidy rate to 90 per cent for families for the first child in care;
  • Increase child care subsidy rates for every family with one child in care earning less than $530,000 in household income;
  • Keep higher child care subsidy rates for the second and additional children in care;
  • Asking the ACCC to design a price regulation mechanism to drive out of pocket costs down for good, and the Productivity Commission will conduct a comprehensive review of the sector with the aim of implementing a universal 90 per cent subsidy for all families.

The Coalition’s plan is to :

  • Increase the level of Child Care Subsidy by 30% for families with one or more children in care to a maximum of 95% benefitting around 250,000 families.
  • Remove the $10,560 cap on Child Care Subsidy, benefitting around 18,000 families.

The Green’s plan is to:

  • Invest $19bn over the forward estimates to ensure early childhood education and care is free and accessible for everyone.

This handy calculator helps you work out how much better off your family will be under each party’s election policy.

Commitments to improve ACCESS to quality early learning for all children:

Labor’s plan is to:

  • Develop and implement a whole of government Early Years Strategy to create a new integrated approach to the early years and develop of program of action.

The Coalition’s plan is to:

  • Roll out with all States and Territories a four year National Preschool Reform Agreement to strengthen the delivery of preschool and better prepare children for the first year of school.

The Greens’ plan is to:

  • Extend universal access to early childhood education for all 3 and 4 year olds to 24 hours a week

Commitments to support, grow and pay the early childhood WORKFORCE:

Neither Labor nor the Coalition have developed specific plans to address the chronic workforce shortages in the early childhood sector,  fund wage increases for educators or implement the National Children’s Education and Care Workforce Strategy. Their commitments on broader workforce policy that will also support our sector include:

Labor’s plan will:

  • Offer 465,000 fee free TAFE places for Australian students studying in industries with a skills shortage, including 45,000 new places.
  • Lead a national push to help close the gender pay gap and increase pay for women workers – particularly in caring jobs – by strengthening the ability and capacity of the Fair Work Commission to order pay increases for workers in low paid, female dominated industries.

The Coalition’s plan will:

  • Through 50% wage subsidies support more than 170,000 new apprenticeships and traineeships, and through the JobTrainer fund – support more than 450,000 new training places for school leavers and job seekers.
  • Support women’s economic security by continuing our focus on key priorities including repairing and rebuilding women’s workforce participation and further closing the gender pay gap.

The Greens’ plan will:

  • Ensure early childhood educators have well paid, secure jobs

You can have a look at Independent Candidates and Senate Candidates Commitments here.

If you believe every family should be able to access early learning and care that is high quality, universally accessible and affordable, Join our Smart Start campaign community and support our campaign partners Thrive by Five by signing their petition and getting involved!