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2019 NQF Review Decision Regulatory Impact Statement published

8 June 2022

The National Quality Framework (NQF) provides a nationally consistent approach to regulation, assessment and quality improvement for early childhood education and care and outside school hours care services across Australia.

It consists of the National Law and National Regulations, National Quality Standard (NQS), assessment and quality rating process and approved learning frameworks.

The 2019 NQF Review was a three-year evaluation of potential regulatory changes to the NQF, including two rounds of consultation with the education and care sector, families, and the broader community. The recommended changes will deliver a range of benefits for providers, educators, regulatory authorities, children and their families, and include additional guidance for the sector to enhance children’s health, safety and wellbeing.

Based on findings from the 2019 NQF Review, Commonwealth, state and territory education ministers have agreed to the proposed regulatory changes outlined in the Decision Regulatory Statement (DRIS). The DRIS includes details of the changes and why they are being recommended. It is available on the 2019 NQF Review website, along with detailed FAQs.

Key changes for services include: 

  • New safety requirements: new policies, procedures and risk assessments will be introduced to ensure the safety, health and wellbeing of children in education and care.
  • Improved oversight and compliance tools for Regulatory Authorities: these are aimed at increasing transparency and accountability in the sector.
  • New workforce requirements: changes include increasing the mandatory minimum qualification requirements for family day care educators and alleviating staffing requirements during short-term absences.
  • Improving regulatory guidance: government-developed resources will aim to improve educator knowledge of best practice, including the Guide To The National Quality Framework.

ACECQA, on behalf of all governments, will be updating the Guide to the National Quality Framework to reflect the amendments.

New regulatory requirements for services around regular transportation are expected to come into effect from early 2023, emphasising the critical importance of ensuring children’s safety during transportation.

Other proposed legislative changes are expected to commence from mid-2023, with ACECQA and the Regulatory Authorities of all participating jurisdictions providing adequate lead time and notification of start dates to assist providers for each change.