Coalition now supporting the NQF?

Sussan Ley, the Coalition’s spokesperson for childcare and early learning, has signalled that if elected her party will ensure the implementation of the National Quality Framework.

The Coalition has promised if it wins the election to convene a meeting with state and territory ministers to fine-tune the NQF to remove excessive regulation, but will maintain the quality aspects of the reforms to a sector dominated by low-paid female workers.

“Rollback of the reforms is not a term I have ever used and, by law, any slowdown would be a decision for the state and territory governments, individually or collectively,” opposition childcare spokeswoman Sussan Ley told The Australian.

“If we’re elected, we will sit down with state and territory ministers to work out what aspects of the NQF could work better than they are at present,” she said.

“In particular, we will focus on where excessive regulation adds to compliance and cost but not to quality.”

Source: The Australian

This is a fairly significant backdown after years of dramatic recitations of “the dead hand of government red tape”. The Coalition will also apparently accept the verdict of Fair Work Australia on any wage increases for educators. Taking Ms Ley at face value, this is good news for the sector.

It is important to remember, however, that the Coalition has been feeling political pressure on childcare and early learning, and the Australian has been very accommodating to their views on government regulation.

Also importantly, in the article Ms Ley claims that she has never stated that the Coalition would “roll back” reforms. This is disingenuous at best, and an outright falsehood at worst.

A good comparison on Ms Ley’s apparent change of heart can be found be reading this article “Coalition plans for childcare rollback” from 2012.

Ms Ley told The Australian the regulation was killing the sector and must be abandoned.

“Family daycare is becoming incredibly inflexible under the National Quality reforms,” she said. “I’m really feeling the frustration of the sector because every childcare roundtable I attend brings forward more examples of the dead hand of government regulation in a sector that absolutely doesn’t need it.

By Liam McNicholas

I am an experienced early childhood teacher, writer and advocate. As well as managing community not-for-profit early childhood operations in a variety of roles, I have advocated for children's human rights; the need for investment in early childhood education; and for professional recognition and wages for those working in early childhood education and care.

I am available to be commissioned for freelance writing, editing, event speaking and consulting work.

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