With NSW Shadow Minister Car on the Future of NSW's Early Childhood Education & Care

In anticipation of the NSW State Election on 25 March 2023, the NSW Shadow Minister for Education & Early Childhood Learning (Prue Car MP) was ACA NSW's guest at its virtual town hall to envision the Future of NSW's Early Childhood Education & Care.

The live event this evening enabled 108 registered participants (13 were registered as parents) to listen as well as pose questions to Ms Car.

Questions included:

  1. Especially in the context of widespread sector fatigue (which is also exacerbated also by worsening labor shortage), what would an elected Labor NSW Government do to address both (and please not only in the medium-longer term but particularly in the immediate term)? And given that the NSW Productivity Commissioner confirmed for the third time that NSW Regulations are higher than the National Standards ($3,000/child/year more than any other Australian states), what changes will an elected Labor NSW Government introduce without sacrificing quality for children?

  2. Let’s agree that pay is an important factor to recruiting and retaining educators and teachers. But without appropriate government subsidies or offsets, fees to parents will increase in order to pay for quality educators and teachers. Yet excessive workloads are regularly cited by educators and teachers as the other major reason for their leaving the sector. How will an elected NSW Labor Government address such excessive operational workloads on educators and teachers?

  3. This NSW Labor election policy cited education outcomes have declined over the last 12 years against other states. So how will 100 preschools co-located with public schools actually produce positive outcomes for children? Will an elected NSW Labor Government publish and implement new children’s outcomes measures that are harmonised with the existing Quality Ratings process? If so, how will those outcomes be defined and measured, as well as when will that be? And given worsening skilled labour shortages, how will existing long daycare services and preschools compete for educators and teachers alongside these new 100 government preschools, which in turn are likely to increase fees to parents unless governments provide additional subsidies and/or offsets?

  4. You may recall the NSW Coalition Government announced their Before-After-School-Care (BASC) Trial for Terms 3 and 4 of 2022 across then 8 public schools. Now across 9 schools, the BASC Reform Trial is effectively extended to Terms 1 and 2 of 2023. Yet, the NSW Government has not published any reports of their findings of improvements nor what they will change in terms NSW Regulations and/or the associated National Quality Framework. What will an elected Labor NSW Government do or introduce in terms of changes to OSHC/BASC? How will it be different from the existing NSW Regulations and National Quality Framework? And how will an elected Labor NSW Government measure success for children as well as for their parents?

ACA NSW will attempt to answer/address/direct the remaining questions posed/received and will publish the answers/responses on this page as well as distribute them to all registered participants.

For any further information/clarification, please contact the ACA NSW team via 1300 556 330 or nsw@childcarealliance.org.au.