• Loddon Herald

Government should partner

TALKS have started with the Federal and Victorian Governments to provide incentives for quality child care in rural areas.

Family Day Care Australia has told the Loddon Herald “the provision of nurturing, high quality and responsive child care in rural communities is a must and both levels of government have a role to play in facilitating this”,

CEO Andrew Paterson said: there should be incentives to address gaps in rural areas.

“This is a priority for FDCA and we are currently engaged in discussions with the Australian Government, and the states and territories, regarding what additional measures could be undertaken in this space to assist in promoting growth in family day care, particularly in regional areas.

“It’s apparent that many rural and remote communities, like those in Loddon Shire, are missing out on vital access to early childhood education.

“This is problematic for both children and parents, as research shows that the benefits for children’s learning and developmental outcomes are significant, and there is considerable potential for this service type to assist in increasing workforce participation, particularly for women.

“However, if there are no government incentives provided to increase levels of educator numbers in regional and remote communities, and support for approved services to recruit and support new educators in new regional areas, then parents will simply not be able to access adequate levels of care.”

Mr Paterson said Loddon was one of many rural communities crying out for high quality early childhood education and care.

“As the national peak body for family day care, Family Day Care Australia is committed to advocating across all levels of government for vital funding and policy measures for family day care, especially given its unique ability to respond to the education and care needs of rural communities,” he said.

Mr Paterson said the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic saw a number of significant changes to the workforce. “Family day care has been an important part of our nation’s recovery efforts due to its responsiveness.

“It’s clear that the increase in the trend of working from home has had mixed effects on demand for early education and care; however, what’s certain is that there is an unmet demand in regional areas generally despite this shift.

“We anticipate demand for early childhood education and care will continue to grow, particularly in rural and regional areas, which makes the need for government support more urgent than ever.“

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