In 2022, the Childcare Leadership Alliance (CLA) emerged as a beacon of hope for regional communities facing unique childcare challenges. This dynamic initiative took root in the heart of Queensland, specifically in Moranbah and Dysart, with the support of the BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) – the region’s largest employer. The volunteer board steering this transformative endeavour includes representatives from the Isaac Regional Council, local businesses, the early learning sector, and BMA, each of whom is dedicated to fostering sustainable change in regional childcare.

Our journey began with the firm belief that, if successful, the innovative strategies initiated by CLA could serve as a model for countless other regional communities throughout Australia. The challenges we address touch the lives of countless families, children, local employers, and childcare operators, echoing far beyond the horizon of Central Queensland.

In these regional communities, a pressing childcare shortage has cast its long shadow. Local childcare centres are grappling with an inadequate number of places to meet the ever-growing demands of the community. The shortage of educators and teachers compounds this issue, leaving childcare centres unable to operate at their full potential. The repercussions ripple through the lives of working families, especially affecting mothers, who often bear the brunt of this predicament. Moreover, local businesses suffer from decreased productivity as their employees struggle to find suitable childcare options for their children.

But, at the heart of it all, it is the children who bear the heaviest burden. Their early years are critical for development, with the majority of brain development occurring between birth and five years of age. These formative years set the foundations for a child’s lifelong journey of learning and development. It is our belief that every child in regional Queensland deserves the opportunity to participate in quality early childhood education, ensuring they embark on life’s journey with the best possible start.

The Childcare Leadership Alliance (CLA) has risen to the occasion, ready to confront these challenges head-on. Our mission is to work closely with the communities in the Isaac Regional Council area, creating strategic and innovative solutions that empower childcare operators to attract, retain, and upskill early childhood educators and teachers. Our initial pilot initiatives in Moranbah and Dysart are just the beginning.

Our journey requires an inclusive, whole-of-community approach. We are not simply dictating solutions from above; instead, we are actively engaging with the insights and ideas of the community itself. This collaborative effort involves stakeholders from the Isaac Regional Council, mining operators, childcare centre managers and staff, parents, families, and community groups. Together, we are forging a path towards long-term, sustainable solutions that will redefine the childcare landscape in regional Australia.

We are committed to ensuring that every child in regional Australia has access to quality early childhood education and that working families can pursue their careers without compromise. The journey has only just begun, and we invite you to join us as we chart a brighter future for regional childcare.

You can learn more about The Childcare Leadership Alliance here.