Affordable & Accessible Childcare & Economic Participation Fund
Boosting access and affordability of ECEC services
The Affordable and Accessible Childcare and Economic Participation Fund is a landmark $5 billion investment over 10 years to boost access to and affordability of early childhood education and care services.
The aim is to give parents who want to return to work better access to a quality service close to home.
The Fund addresses the number one recommendation of the NSW Government’s Women’s Economic Opportunities Review, which is to make early childhood education and care more accessible and affordable, to empower women to enter – or re-enter – the workforce.
Targeting priority needs
The Fund will target known barriers to families accessing quality early childhood education and care by providing major incentives to enable providers to extend their services to more families, more affordably.
It will help existing services – including not-for-profit and private providers - to grow in size and quality and it will improve the viability of existing services, particularly in regional and rural locations. The Fund will also support services to drive down their fees for families and to build, retain and better reward their workforce.
A priority for the Fund will be the early childhood education and care workforce. We are keen to work with the sector on developing innovative new approaches to help attract and retain the next generation of early childhood teachers and educators.
This may include offering more attractive employee packages.
Backing innovation and growth
The Fund will help create a range of opportunities for our early childhood education and care sector to innovate and grow.
In addition to workforce initiatives, priority investments for the Fund could include:
- building larger facilities
- forming new partnerships to deliver more affordable early childhood education and care places
- helping providers start new services in areas where there is a shortage of places
- helping services to operate in communities that need extra help to stay viable
- trialling new service models to meet the needs of modern families.
Support for the sector
To support the Fund and all the Early Years Commitment activities, the NSW Government will commit $24.7 million over 4 years to gather and develop enhanced market data from the sector to help us understand key drivers of access, quality and affordability.
We will develop a network of NSW Department of Education staff to give hands-on help and improve the provision of information and support to services. These staff will help inform the Fund’s priorities and support services to apply for the Fund.
IPART review of early learning
The NSW Government will commission the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) to review the sector. IPART will consult the public and sector on the review’s terms of reference to inform its findings.
The Fund will be open for applications from 2023-24
The Government will identify priority areas and release detailed guidelines for accessing the Fund after consultation with the sector.
Services and sector organisations (including long day care services, community and mobile preschools) will be able to apply for funding from 2023-24.