The Childcare and Economic Opportunity Fund has been legislated as a statutory entity.
The establishment of the Fund in legislation provides:
- enhanced transparency and accountability to the operation of the Fund
- certainty of long-term funding
- enhanced investment confidence
- assurance the Fund delivers on its strategic intent to boost accessibility and affordability of quality early childhood education and care and improve outcomes for NSW children and families.
The NSW Childcare and Economic Opportunity Fund Act 2022 includes the establishment of a special deposits account for the Fund, and the creation of a statutory entity – the Childcare and Economic Opportunity Fund Board.
The Fund Board
Julia Davison and Megan Mitchell, AM, have been appointed as independent members of the Board of the Childcare and Economic Opportunity Fund.
Ms Davison and Ms Mitchell bring extensive expertise and experience in the early childhood education and care sector to these important strategic advisory roles.
Julia Davison was the founding CEO of Goodstart Early Learning, the not-for-profit organisation formed by a syndicate of leading community sector organisations to purchase and operate more than 650 of the former ABC Learning Centres.
Julia has extensive senior management experience in the health and public sectors in Australia and the UK. She has a strong interest in public policy, having completed a Masters in Public Administration at the Harvard Kennedy School. She is a passionate advocate for investment in the early years, better access and high quality provision.
In her tenure at Goodstart Julia has led the creation of a unique social enterprise – an at scale organisation with a turnover of $1.3 billion that is driven by its purpose to ensure that young children have the learning, development and wellbeing outcomes they need for school and life. She has also enabled educators to lift the quality of the services they provide and enabled a more inclusive organisation where no child is turned away.
From 2013 to 2020 Megan served as Australia’s first National Children’s Commissioner. In this role, she focused on the rights and interests of children, and the programs, policies and laws that impact on them. As Commissioner, Megan conducted a number of focused investigations into human rights issues for children, monitored and reported on Australia’s performance in promoting the rights of children in line with its international obligations and led the development of national principles for child safe organisations.
Previously, Megan was the NSW Commissioner for Children and Young People and has had an extensive career in senior leadership positions in child protection and out of home care, disability, juvenile justice and early childhood services. Megan was also the CEO of the Australian Council for Social Service for a number of years.
Megan holds post graduate qualifications in Psychology, Social Policy and Education, and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She is currently working in research and consultancy roles, undertaking a PhD at the University of Sydney and serving as a director on a number of government and non-government boards.
The Childcare and Economic Opportunity Fund Board also includes:
- the Secretary of the NSW Department of Education or an employee of the department nominated by the Secretary
- the Treasury Secretary or an employee of Treasury nominated by the Secretary
- a staff member of the NSW Department of Education.
The Board will help guide decision making for investments by the Fund and will consult widely to ensure it is informed by a diversity of perspectives, including input from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Committee.
Board meetings are currently held monthly. Board communiques (below) provide a summary of key items discussed.
At the Childcare and Economic Opportunity Fund Board (the Board) meeting held on Thursday 24 August 2023 at 8 Central Avenue, Eveleigh, the Board received updates on various matters relating to the Fund.
An update on the Board’s instrument of delegation was provided and approved by the Board.
The Board discussed and provided input on the risk appetite statement. This also included a discussion around alignment of the risk policy and framework with the NSW Department of Education’s policies.
The Board discussed and endorsed program guidelines for the Early Childhood Education and Care Flexible Initiatives Trial, which will proceed to the NSW Minister for Education and Early Learning and NSW Treasury for approval. The Board also discussed a Childcare and Economic Opportunity Fund (the Fund) communications and engagement plan, which will include the launch of the new program, if approved.
The Board endorsed an overview of planned stakeholder engagement for the first Strategic Investment Plan, a key deliverable for the Board under the Childcare and Economic Opportunity Fund Act 2022.
Prepared by: Simone Walker, Chairperson, Childcare and Economic Opportunity Fund Board