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Early Childhood Education red tape to lessen

Published 21 Apr 2024

Associate Education Minister, David Seymour, has announced legislative changes aimed at simplifying the establishment and operation of early learning services. These changes include repealing network approval provisions, which currently give the government the authority to determine where new services should be located, and halting the implementation of new person responsible requirements which was due to take effect in August this year.

Seymour asserts that providers and parents are better equipped to determine the locations of early learning services based on demand. He criticises the existing network approval provisions for their complexity and hindrance to competition, suggesting that they impede early childhood professionals from delivering effective, affordable, and accessible services.

In addition to repealing the National Statement on the Network of Licensed Early Childhood Services to expedite the approval process for new services, Seymour proposes removing the requirement for higher certification levels for key supervisory roles. This change aims to alleviate financial burdens and staffing challenges, particularly in rural and lower socio-economic areas.

However, he clarifies that teachers will still need recognized qualifications and practicing certificates, and all early learning services must adhere to licensing requirements and health and safety regulations.

Further measures include delaying the implementation of requirements for changing service provider identities on service licenses and initiating a comprehensive review of regulations governing the early childhood education sector. The newly established Ministry for Regulation will oversee this review, with the goal of reducing unnecessary compliance and costs to allow early learning professionals to focus on education and childcare.

Seymour emphasises the importance of minimising costs for parents, highlighting that excessive expenses ultimately impact families. Overall, the proposed legislative changes aim to empower providers and parents in determining the establishment and operation of early learning services while streamlining regulatory processes to enhance accessibility and affordability.