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Opportunity to reduce complexity for small businesses in the early education and childcare sector

Report finds system could be made simpler for small businesses

28 September, 2022

The NSW Small Business Commissioner has called for renewed efforts to look at the way rules and regulations governing the State’s childcare sector impact small business.

Commissioner Chris Lamont has also recommended exploring an immediate temporary suspension of NSW’s higher staff ratio requirements, given the “critical staff shortages” the sector is experiencing.

Eight out of 10 small businesses in the sector reported challenges in getting enough staff.

“In some cases, NSW regulations are tougher than standards in other jurisdictions, such as staff to child ratios, and there should be a reassessment of whether these differences are warranted,” Mr Lamont said.

The report is focused on issues that could make the regulatory system less complex, while also focussing on the importance of meaningful feedback that can help providers lift the quality of education and care.

According to the Australian Department of Education NSW has some of the highest early childhood education (ECE) costs in Australia. Commissioner Chris Lamont said industry feedback is clear that current requirements are impacting the affordability and availability of early childhood education and care in NSW.

Other recommendations include:

  • An independent review of the assessment and ratings process for centres.
  • Examining approaches adopted in other jurisdictions to see if they can support NSW providers.
  • Supporting the provision of high-quality care by working closer with providers to address identified deficiencies.
  • Streamlined approval processes.

The report was based on surveys and a series of workshops with smaller childcare providers.

Read Small business experiences in the early childhood education and care sector