An important part of our work at CELA is year round advocacy that represents the interests of members and the sector. Advocacy means we play a role by speaking with governments about issues and potential solutions, providing analysis and statistical evidence, and conveying the views of members. Our advocacy helps government understand how policies affect early childhood service provision and, ultimately, the families and children using these services.

2024-25 Pre-Budget Submission

Jan '24


Productivity Commission – ECEC Inquiry Draft Report

Feb '24


Jobs and Skills Australia ECEC Capacity Study

Feb '24


Advocacy Report 2023

Dec '23

CELA’s advocacy places community and small providers of early education at the forefront. 2023 was a significant year for early childhood advocacy as both federal and state governments pressed forward on ambitious reform agendas.


CELA IPART Interim Report Submission

Nov '23

CELA's submission to the Interim Report welcomes the draft findings and recommendations, emphasising that the time is now for state and federal governments to work together to reset the early education and care sector, to make sure it is fit for the future and works to fully support children and families.


ACCC Interim Report submission

Oct '23

A joint submission by CELA and CCC.


CELA's submission to the National Care and Support Strategy

June '23

CELA's submission is broadly supportive of the draft strategy prepared by the Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet but highlights the uniqueness of the education and care sector. 


IPART Review - CELA response to issues paper

May '23

CELA's submission to the Issues Paper highlights the opportunity we have to reimagine an ECEC system that recognises all learning starts from birth—one that truly holds the needs of Australia’s children as its fundamental starting point. 


CELA submission to the Early Years Strategy

May '23

In our submission, we call on Government to introduce universal access to early education and care, wrap-around services to ensure children's health milestones and monitored and and met, and appropriate supports so that all families can thrive. 


CELA's Submission to the Select Senate Committee on Cost of Living

May '23

Our response to the Select Senate Inquiry into the Cost of Living highlights the plight of the essential 200,000 plus education and care workforce, who, due to low wages,are disproportionately impacted by the unprecedented levels of inflation currently being experienced by all Australians. We call on the Committee to work with all levels of Government to urgently address wages for the education and care sector. 


CELA's Submission to the Productivity Commission's Inquiry

May '23

In our submission to the Productivity Commission's Inquiry into Early Childhood Education and Care, we call on Government for a new vision for early childhood education and care, including guaranteed universal access to education and care from birth to school age, a strong, stable and professionally paid workforce and a stable sector which supports quality, access and choice. 


Our 6 Point Plan for Education and Care

April '22

We have built a plan that delivers access to high quality early education and care for all types of families, close to where they live. 

Download Plan

We advocate across five key areas

1. Achieving quality early education

quality early education

Ensuring that all children in Australia have access to affordable, high quality early education and care is one of CELA’s key principles and underpins our commitment to achieving best practice nationally.

Success means that increasingly, more centres and services will meet and exceed quality standards and ultimately best practice will become the norm across our sector.

2. Building a stable workforce that’s nurtured and valued

stable workforce

Quality early childhood education and care depends upon the calibre and strength of our workforce. A stable workforce is also essential for building responsive relationships with children and families.

CELA understands the challenges and concerns facing the ECEC workforce, both now and into the future. Our members must be able to attract and retain quality entrants, manage workload and levels of workforce stress, and provide professional development, pathways and recognition.

3. Ensuring viability for community and small providers

viability for community and small providers

Community and small providers of early childhood education and care provide crucial services as a centre point for many communities across Australia. We are acutely aware of the important role they play and of their unique challenges and vulnerabilities.

These smaller providers collectively comprise a vital part of our early childhood education and care infrastructure. Most approved providers across Australia are in fact small and community providers, with their services making up over 30% of all early childhood education and care services (ACECQA).

4. Improving access for vulnerable children

improving access

Our most vulnerable children have the most to gain from early childhood education but are less likely to attend. Prior to COVID-19 over 750,000 children were living below the poverty line – this figure is likely to increase due to the economic impact of COVID-19.

There are multiple barriers to vulnerable children accessing early childhood education and care, which include cost, transport and availability of safe, culturally responsive services.

During COVID-19 we saw major behaviour change when free childcare was introduced. A significant number of vulnerable children attended long day-care for the first time or increased their hours. Once fees resumed, services reported these children no longer attending. CELA is deeply concerned that thousands of vulnerable children are again invisible having now been removed from early childhood education and care.

5. Closing the gap for rural children

closing the gap

Despite the fact that early childhood is the period of greatest brain development with profound longterm influences, too many rural and regional children lack access to quality early childhood education and care.

A range of barriers must be addressed to ensure high quality ECEC provision is available in rural and remote areas. Access to timely and quality early childhood education and care is a vital part of the solution to solving the widening gap in education, health and life outcomes between city and country.

CELA’s CEO Michele Carnegie undertakes a range of approaches on behalf of members, including:

  • Liaising with State and Federal Ministers to explain issues and provide solutions
  • Liaising regularly with senior agency staff who brief and appraise State Ministers
  • Via our publications Amplify and Broadside we report on issues of importance to our sector
  • Member of multiple advisory panels where we represent the perspective of community and small providers
  • Providing targeted submissions to important reviews such as the NQF, Workforce Strategy and EYLF

To advocate effectively we ensure that we understand the views and needs of our members through:

  • Listening to feedback via conversations with our members
  • Undertaking Member Surveys on specific issues
  • Our Learning & Development program which connects us with several thousand educators annually
  • Our collective CELA leadership expertise


Investing in our future: Growing the education and care workforce

CELA, together with Early Learning Association of Australia and Community Child Care have released a report which highlights the significant workforce shortages in early education and care.

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