Home' Belonging Early Years Journal : Vol 6 No 1 Contents V6N12017 5
Senate passes $1.6-billion childcare reform ‘Jobs for
The Federal Government has succeeded in securing its long-
awaited $1.6-billion childcare ‘Jobs for Families’ package with
crossbench support. The Social Services Legislation Amendment
(Omnibus Savings and Child Care Reform) Bill 2017 (‘the Bill’)
was passed through the Senate in a late-night vote on Thursday
Passing the Bill with crossbench support allowed the government
to reject suggested amendments from the Australian Childcare
Alliance (ACA), along with the early childhood education and
care (ECEC) sector at large, which were supported by the
Australian Labor Party and the Greens. The sector’s suggested
changes would have increased the base entitlement for children’s
early education from 12 hours to 15 hours, and increased the
household income threshold for the low-income entitlement from
$65,000 to $100,000.
The government and the cross bench agreed to remove childcare
subsidies for families earning more than $350,000.
Overall, the new package will provide financial benefits to the
majority of families using ECEC services, but fails to provide
any subsidy at all to those families with one stay-at-home
parent and earning above $65,710, for their children in an
early learning environment.
ACA and other peak bodies in the ECEC sector have expressed
their disappointment in the government’s decision to ignore their
The new regime is expected to be rolled out in July 2018.
ACA will remain engaged with the Department of Education and
Training, the Department of Social Services and the Australian
Taxation Office during the rollout of the new Family Assistance
regime, to ensure that members and their families are informed
of how it will affect their services and their families’ rebates;
the practical implications of the changes, such as a new set of
processes and government software; and what is required of their
businesses under the new system.
ACA is acutely aware of the need for clear guidance during the
transition period, which can in turn be passed on to parents or
guardians. These changes will affect more than 17,000 service
providers across Australia, and over 1.2 million families with
children attending early learning services.
Changes to National Quality Framework to take
effect this October
In February, Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality
Authority (ACECQA) announced that Australia’s federal, state
and territory governments have agreed to make some changes to
the National Quality Framework (NQF).
The changes are being introduced to improve the practical
implications of the NQF for service providers, and to make sure
it works well to improve the quality of early learning services in
These updates follow the 2014 review of the framework and
the unilateral agreement between governments that formed the
new regime. The review sought feedback from the ECEC sector,
families and communities.
During this review, ACA played a key role in providing member
feedback about how the framework applies on a practical level,
and some of the unintended consequences of the new regime.
The overall findings of the review were positive; there is strong
stakeholder support for the NQF, and it has demonstrably raised
the quality of education and care Australia-wide; however, as
the ACA made clear during our engagement with government,
there are some technical and operational elements in need of
improvement, to reduce red tape and ensure positive practical
outcomes for ECEC services.
ACECQA has outlined the key time frames of the legislation
changes that will come into effect, after passage through the
1 October 2017 – national law and regulations changes
commence in all states and territories, except Western
Australia. In Western Australia, changes will commence
by 1 October 2018 to allow for the legislation to pass
through that parliament
1 February 2018 – revised National Quality Standard
commences in all states and territories, including
For further information, visit the ACECQA website at
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