21 September 2015

Northside Community Service congratulates Senator Simon Birmingham on his appointment as Minister for Education, as announced by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Sunday 20 September.

Northside also acknowledges the Prime Minister’s decision to include Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) within Senator Birmingham’s new portfolio, reversing the previous Prime Minister Tony Abbot’s decision to remove ECEC from Education in December 2014.

ECEC is a critical and foundational part of Australia’s education system, and its placement in the Department of Education should be maintained by Government into the future.

The sector faces a number of significant challenges, including the continued rollout of the National Quality Framework; barriers to access for children and families experiencing vulnerabilities; the response to the Productivity Commission review; and the lack of professional recognition and wages for Early Childhood Educators and Teachers.

Currently, the Federal Government has a “Families Package” due to go through the Senate, which includes a number of concerning measures, including changes to the Work Activity Test that will adversely affect children and families experiencing financial hardship. Northside calls on the newly-installed Minister to overhaul this package to address the concerns of the sector and family advocacy groups.

Northside hopes that Senator Birmingham reaffirms the Federal Government’s commitment to the continued rollout of the National Quality Framework and the importance of the ECEC sector for all Australian children and families.

Simon Rosenberg