Legislation changes to benefit childcare services

SMALL education and care services throughout Queensland are welcoming in the New Year with legislative changes that reduce their red tape burden.

Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett said the new Education and Care Services Act 2013 (ECS Act) came into effect from January 1, making life easier for 63 services around Queensland.

"The Newman Government made the promise to cut unnecessary red tape across a range of services and this is yet another example of us delivering on that commitment," Mr Bennett said.

"The 450 staff working in the small education and child care services affected by the changed legislation will now be able to do what they do best - educate and care for children - rather than being buried under the pile of paperwork that Labor stacked on their desks."

More than 2600 children attend the affected services across 50 communities located predominantly in Queensland's rural and remote areas.

The services cater for children from birth to school-aged and the majority operate in the north of the state, 32 per cent are based in Indigenous communities and 11 per cent also care for children with disabilities.

Mr Bennett said the legislative changes were based on strong industry support for the more flexible approach to providing quality education and care services.

"The changes will not only reduce the regulatory burden for these services but will also improve the educational outcomes for the children," Mr Bennett said.

"One of the most significant changes is that staff no longer have to submit extensive applications for a renewal license and instead will be visited by a government representative at least every three years to ensure standards are being maintained.

"The new legislation also allows greater flexibility for educator-to- child ratios across the entire centre.

"The new legislation's staffing requirements will be phased in over time at these smaller services."

The services, which were not regulated under the National Quality Framework, will now automatically move from the Child Care Act 2002 to the new ECS Act.

The new legislation is a key reform in the list of Queensland Red Tape Reduction Initiatives.

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