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Child care key to a more productive society, says landmark report

Most lower income families could have their child care and early education costs covered if the government accepts recommendations that all children from birth to five receive high quality services.

Nov 24, 2023, updated Nov 24, 2023
LEGO artist Ryan ‘Brickman’ McNaught and his team is transforming the Queensland Museum into a brick-based Jurassic World this Christmas and beyond.


More than 15 dinosaurs will roar into the Museum - which will open on 8 December 2023.
Brickman’s exhibit is the largest LEGO exhibition in Australian history with over 50 large-scale dinosaurs, props, scenes, and activities made from over 6 million LEGO bricks.
McNaught says: “Brisbane fans will be blown away by the scale of the experience - some of these models are the most complex and challenging ones we have made to date, so being able to bring them to Brisbane is just fantastic.
“We have created and used new techniques and committed thousands of hours to build these models that I am personally incredibly proud of.”


The Brickman is a highly skilled team of LEGO brick model builders and craftspeople, led by McNaught - one of the world’s leading LEGO brick artists, star judge of the hit TV show LEGO Masters Australia, and the only LEGO Certified Professional in the southern hemisphere.


The Brickman team has crafted intricate models, including a life-sized LEGO brick Brachiosaurus weighing over 2 tonnes. Explorers will encounter a range of dinosaurs, from Pteranodons to Velociraptors and the iconic T. rex. They can visit a baby dinosaur enclosure, and learn how to track dinosaurs across the island before encountering escaped Velociraptors Blue and Delta.


Queensland Museum Network CEO Dr Jim Thompson adds: “Dinosaurs have taken over Queensland Museum in 2023 and we are pleased to welcome this extraordinary exhibition to the museum to round out what has been a year of the dinosaur.


“This Summer our visitors will be able to travel to Isla Nublar and experience one of the world’s most iconic movie franchises through LEGO bricks.”
The exhibition is set to run until July  2024. Visitors will walk through 4-metre-tall Jurassic World gates, explore the lab where dinosaurs are genetically engineered, and marvel at the exhibits, activities, and challenges, including hands-on building adventures and learning to track dinosaurs. With 2.5 million bricks available for creativity, the exhibition promises an unforgettable experience for Jurassic World and LEGO enthusiasts of all ages.
Queensland’s Minister for Arts Leeanne Enoch said the state’s  extraordinary dinosaur history, which continues to be unearthed, makes Queensland Museum the ideal host for Jurassic World by Brickman.


“Queenslanders love a ‘block’ buster, and this awe-inspiring exhibition bringing you the iconic Jurassic World in LEGO® bricks, for the first time in our state,” Minister Enoch said.

Where: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
When: 03 Mar 2022
Credit: Courtesy Queensland Museum/Cover Images

**EDITORIAL USE ONLY. MATERIALS ONLY TO BE USED IN CONJUNCTION WITH EDITORIAL STORY. THE USE OF THESE MATERIALS FOR ADVERTISING, MARKETING OR ANY OTHER COMMERCIAL PURPOSE IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED. MATERIAL COPYRIGHT REMAINS WITH STATED SUPPLIER.**

LEGO artist Ryan ‘Brickman’ McNaught and his team is transforming the Queensland Museum into a brick-based Jurassic World this Christmas and beyond. More than 15 dinosaurs will roar into the Museum - which will open on 8 December 2023. Brickman’s exhibit is the largest LEGO exhibition in Australian history with over 50 large-scale dinosaurs, props, scenes, and activities made from over 6 million LEGO bricks. McNaught says: “Brisbane fans will be blown away by the scale of the experience - some of these models are the most complex and challenging ones we have made to date, so being able to bring them to Brisbane is just fantastic. “We have created and used new techniques and committed thousands of hours to build these models that I am personally incredibly proud of.” The Brickman is a highly skilled team of LEGO brick model builders and craftspeople, led by McNaught - one of the world’s leading LEGO brick artists, star judge of the hit TV show LEGO Masters Australia, and the only LEGO Certified Professional in the southern hemisphere. The Brickman team has crafted intricate models, including a life-sized LEGO brick Brachiosaurus weighing over 2 tonnes. Explorers will encounter a range of dinosaurs, from Pteranodons to Velociraptors and the iconic T. rex. They can visit a baby dinosaur enclosure, and learn how to track dinosaurs across the island before encountering escaped Velociraptors Blue and Delta. Queensland Museum Network CEO Dr Jim Thompson adds: “Dinosaurs have taken over Queensland Museum in 2023 and we are pleased to welcome this extraordinary exhibition to the museum to round out what has been a year of the dinosaur. “This Summer our visitors will be able to travel to Isla Nublar and experience one of the world’s most iconic movie franchises through LEGO bricks.” The exhibition is set to run until July 2024. Visitors will walk through 4-metre-tall Jurassic World gates, explore the lab where dinosaurs are genetically engineered, and marvel at the exhibits, activities, and challenges, including hands-on building adventures and learning to track dinosaurs. With 2.5 million bricks available for creativity, the exhibition promises an unforgettable experience for Jurassic World and LEGO enthusiasts of all ages. Queensland’s Minister for Arts Leeanne Enoch said the state’s extraordinary dinosaur history, which continues to be unearthed, makes Queensland Museum the ideal host for Jurassic World by Brickman. “Queenslanders love a ‘block’ buster, and this awe-inspiring exhibition bringing you the iconic Jurassic World in LEGO® bricks, for the first time in our state,” Minister Enoch said. Where: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia When: 03 Mar 2022 Credit: Courtesy Queensland Museum/Cover Images **EDITORIAL USE ONLY. MATERIALS ONLY TO BE USED IN CONJUNCTION WITH EDITORIAL STORY. THE USE OF THESE MATERIALS FOR ADVERTISING, MARKETING OR ANY OTHER COMMERCIAL PURPOSE IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED. MATERIAL COPYRIGHT REMAINS WITH STATED SUPPLIER.**

A draft report from the Productivity Commission has found kids who attended early childhood education and care (ECEC) perform better at school and later in life.

But growing demand in a sector that’s already chronically understaffed means universal child care can’t be achieved without first addressing workforce shortages.

The report also found higher attendance at child care allows parents, specifically mothers, to return to the workforce.

However, the families that would benefit the most from these services are using them less than average – or not at all.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are under-represented in early education and childcare settings because services are unaffordable, unavailable or fail to offer culturally safe environments.

Associate commissioner Deborah Brennan said major barriers to access for children from low-income families include out-of-pocket fees, insufficient services in local areas and long wait lists.

Those who successfully engage with a provider are forking out anywhere from five to 21 per cent of their disposable income on child care, according to an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission investigation.

Though the number of ECEC places has risen by 50 per cent to more than one million, availability varies across the nation and services in disadvantaged communities don’t meet the same standards as those in wealthier districts.

“Vulnerable and disadvantaged children benefit the most from quality early childhood education and care, but they are currently the least likely to attend,” Ms Brennan said.”A child’s entitlement to at least three days of ECEC a week should not depend on how much their parents work.”

The commission says the government should ensure all children up to the age of five have access to ECEC for up to 30 hours or three days per week.

Specifically, the government should relax work requirements and raise the maximum rate of its Child Care Subsidy from 90 to 100 per cent of the hourly rate cap for families who earn up to $80,000.

For a majority of those families, this would cover the entirety of their ECEC costs.

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However, families whose kids attend providers that charge more than the hourly rate cap set by the government would still face some out-of-pocket fees.

Regardless, increasing the Child Care Subsidy would benefit about one in three families with young children and increase the number of hours kids spend in childcare or early education centres by 12 per cent.

It would also lead to a 3.4 per cent increase in hours worked by single parents and secondary earners in couple families with young children, which is equivalent to an additional 20,700 full-time employees.

But Commissioner Martin Stokie says expanding accessibility would require the government to address workforce shortages first.

“We will not make any progress towards a universal system without addressing the sector’s workforce challenges,” they said.

“Improving pay and conditions is critical but more can be done to improve career and qualification pathways.”

An Early Childhood Education and Care Commission should also be created to support, advise and monitor governments’ progress towards universal access.

The cost of these reforms is estimated to be about $2.5 billion a year.

The government has already implemented a number of changes to bolster the workforce and improve accessibility including subsidised childcare for Indigenous communities, increased subsidies and a multi-million dollar commitment to upskilling early childhood education workers.

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