Parents from New South Wales met the Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in Sydney to discuss their experiences with early childhood education and care and paid parental leave, ahead of key changes coming into effect on 1 July 2023.
“We are grateful for the opportunity for families in our community to sit with the Prime Minister and directly discuss the reality of raising children while also trying to financially provide for a family,” CEO of The Parenthood Georgie Dent said. “The juggle is real and for parents to have their voices and stories heard in this forum is incredibly powerful.
“The Prime Minister’s recognition of the need to better support parents and children in the early years is evident in the commitments to reform early childhood education and care and paid parental leave. We appreciate his genuine interest in speaking directly with families about how these policy issues impact their lives.”
From 1 July, more than a million families can expect a reduction in out of pocket costs for early childhood education and care, when the $4.5 billion changes to the Child Care Subsidy come into effect.
“This will provide some much-needed financial relief to families with young children,” Dent said. “It is an important step on the road towards every child in Australia having access to quality, affordable early childhood education and care.”
“When this package was pledged by Anthony Albanese as Opposition leader in October 2020 it was seismic in its recognition of the unaffordability of early learning and its importance as economic and social reform.
“Since then a cost of living crisis has escalated, putting unprecedented pressure on household budgets, which makes the case for these changes all the more urgent.
The Parenthood welcomed the Commonwealth government’s investment of an additional $21.2 million for the Inclusion Support Program. “This funding will play a crucial role in ensuring that children with additional needs can access and benefit from high-quality early childhood education and care services.”
“In combination with negotiations around wages for early childhood educators, the ACCC review into cost drivers in early learning and the Productivity Commission inquiry into universal early childhood education and care, it is clear the Commonwealth government recognises that affordability is only one component to consider.”
“We remain confident that these processes, in conjunction with bi-partisan commitments in every state and territory to reform early education, represent a once-in-a-generation opportunity to progress towards a truly universal, quality early childhood education and care system.”
Expectant parents and parents-to-be will benefit from staged changes to paid parental leave that begin from 1 July. By 2026, every family with a new baby can receive six months of paid parental leave, which can be shared between both parents. Single parents will be eligible for the full 26 weeks of paid leave.
“Paid parental leave is profoundly important,” said Dent. “Bringing a baby home is life-changing and paid parental leave enables parents to recover from childbirth, bond with their baby and adjust to their new life.
“The caring pattern set in the early years persists over the course of a child’s life and it is fantastic to see the Albanese government recognise the case for improving support for children and parents in Australia.”