Productivity commission report raises more questions than answers

Federal member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters said the Productivity Commission’s draft report released today raises more questions than answers.

At first glance it could be suggesting that parents or individual educators become responsible to ensure compliance with a heavily regulated sector and complex employment conditions.

The Commission’s report released this morning has wide-ranging recommendations which, if implemented, would have profound impacts on the quality of education and care of young children.

“I welcome the recommendation that the National Quality Framework (NQF) be a prerequisite of all government funding.

“However, several key recommendations could undermine the National Quality Framework and would weaken the sector’s ability to provide high quality education and care.

These include:
• Removing the requirement for degree-qualified educators for children under three years of age
• Removing the requirements for diploma qualifications
• Allowing centres to operate below current educator-to-child ratios
Positive recommendations include:
• Continuation of universal preschool access for four year olds.
• Increased subsidies for children with disabilities and additional needs.
• The report acknowledges that, despite their skills and qualifications, educators are low paid.

“The Commission’s recommendation that government funded nannies must be qualified and covered by the NQF also raises more questions - how will the Government monitor compliance with the NQF? Further, will parents become the employers, and therefore be required to comply with employment laws and regulations?

“When it comes to educators themselves, the Commission has acknowledged their skills, qualifications and low pay, but has failed to recommend practical solutions to solving the issue of low pay. Again, raising more questions.

“It is also clear that the sector needs to have more government funding.

"The Abbott Government must reconsider its position on funding for the sector to ensure quality.

“I believe we need to strengthen the sector’s ability to provide young children with the quality that is their right, regardless of their families’ income or where they live."