An important part of our work at CELA is year round advocacy on behalf of our members, representing the interests of community and small providers. Advocacy means we play a role in speaking with governments to highlight issues and potential solutions, and to help legislators understand how policies affect early education service providers and ultimately the families we support.

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.

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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.

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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).

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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 (CELA).

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.

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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.

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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

Our advocacy position

We amplify the voices of our members through our advocacy

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