A new report from Early Childhood Australia (ECA) has highlighted the importance of the Australian Government's national reforms to early childhood education and care.


The State of the Sector report: Our future on the line; keeping the early childhood education and care reforms on track, examines national progress towards the new National Quality Framework and how each state and territory measures up.


The Australian Government is working with State and Territory governments to introduce a National Quality Framework for child care, which will lift the standard of care across the country. The new reforms will improve staff to child ratios, so that every child gets more individual care and attention and raise staff qualifications, to ensure staff are better able to lead activities that help children learn and develop.


The Australian Government is also introducing a quality ratings system for all child care services so that parents know the quality of care on offer and can make more informed choices. The reforms will also see a reduction in red tape related to services, so that providers can spend less time on paperwork and more time with the kids in their care.


ECA chief executive officer Pam Cahir said the report was the first look at how each state and territory is progressing.


'This report gives an update on what’s been done, where states and territories are at and what still needs to happen to ensure the reforms stay on track,' Ms Cahir said.


'It also lays out some of the changes early childhood education and care professionals can expect to see in the industry over the next couple of years.'


The National Quality Framework was agreed to in December 2009 and is being introduced over several years, with formal implementation beginning in January 2012.


'Already a number of the new standards have been adopted by states, which is great to see. Some states are even exceeding the standards.'


'The report highlights that these reforms are progressing and all states and territories are on track to meet the milestones outlined by COAG.'


'To stall now or roll back any of the reforms would be a big mistake and set early childhood education and care back, which would be bad for children and bad for the economy,' Ms Cahir said.


The ECA report is available online. For more information about the National Quality Framework, click here.