Services operating under the National Quality Framework are in the second week of the Government’s new Child Care Subsidy system. It’s complex, has been plagued by issues with Centrelink and has required services to go the extra mile in working with families.
For all this work, the sector received not a single cent in transition assistance from the Government.
The Child Care Subsidy is the biggest change to sector funding since the introduction of the Child Care Management System a decade ago. It affects over 15,000 services and nearly 1 million families. While $18 million was made available for glossy ads and brochures, services were not provided with any additional support to manage this change on the ground.
Well, budgets must be tight. There must just be no money available for this sort of thing at the moment.
Except, the Education Minister Simon Birmingham did find money to support another group of struggling educational institutions dealing with a difficult change.
Yes, 24 of the most super-rich private schools in Australia were suffering with the transition to a new funding model that would trim their funding from taxpayers a tiny fraction. Strangely enough, Minister Birmingham was able to find $7.1 million to support those schools during this difficult time.
NQF services have become used to losing important avenues of support. In 2016, funding for the Professional Support Coordinators was cut. This year, the Government pulled out of funding the National Quality Agenda.
It seems clear that Government looked at those cuts, looked at the sector and the 1.4 million children the sector supports, and decided they weren’t worth providing any help to transition to an entirely new and complicated funding system.
The Government looked at the new funding model for schools, looked at 24 super-rich private schools (one with a helicopter display – with an actual helicopter – in their main foyer) who would be a tiny bit worse off, looked at the handful of wealthy children and families they work with, and immediately made funds available to help them “transition”.
Budget funds are all about priorities. When it comes to super-rich private schools and NQF services, the Government’s priority is very, very clear.