Chief Executive Officer
“We are the largest education and care service provider in Tasmania, and we continue to thrive, adapt and seek new opportunities.”
I am extremely proud to present the Lady Gowrie Tasmania (LGT) Annual Report for the financial year 2022 to 2023. The preparation of such a report always provides a fantastic opportunity to reflect upon the incredible amount of work undertaken by this wonderful community-based organisation of ours.
For over 84 years, LGT’s programs and services have provided advocacy and support to countless Tasmanian children, families, educators, clients, and learners. We now have third-generation children attending our education and care services. We are the largest education and care service provider in Tasmania, and we continue to thrive, adapt and seek new opportunities.
It is only through the dedication and professionalism of our people that LGT has been able to achieve this. Every day, our people come to work in our services and programs with a focus on ‘Children First’ in all that they do. In the face of unprecedented workforce shortages in our sector, our people have shown incredible resilience and flexibility. For this, I thank each and every one of our people for their passion and commitment to their work.
It is only through families, clients and learners placing their trust in our organisation that LGT has been able to achieve this. It is an incredible privilege to be part of so many Tasmanians’ personal and professional journeys over the decades. For this, I thank you for allowing LGT to support your individual education and care, family support or learning journey.
It is only through the guidance, knowledge, and skills of our voluntary Board of Directors that LGT has been able to achieve this. For this, I want to say thank you to our talented and skilled Board of Directors who support the strategic direction and governance of LGT. I offer special thanks to Anne Beach, Board Chair, for her sound advice and support in my work at LGT.
It is only through the professionalism and tireless work of the Senior Leadership Team that LGT has been able to achieve this. For this, I want to say thank you to Kathy Cripps (1 July to 30 December 2022), Shanna Hughes (1 January to 30 June 2023), Annette Barwick, and Sam Wesson for your strong leadership and invaluable support in my work at LGT. Thank you also to Gary Fox for providing professional support to the Board of Directors, CEO and Senior Leadership Team. I appreciate both your professional and personal support in my role as CEO.
As we look towards LGT’s 85th anniversary next year and the many opportunities and challenges facing our sector, I am confident that LGT and its people will remain focused on ‘Children First’ in our work as we adapt and grow.
This report is a celebration of all that LGT and its people achieved in the financial year 2022 to 2023 so thank you for taking the time to read it and for celebrating with us!
STRATEGIC GOAL 1: EXCELLENCE IN ALL OUR WORK
LGT continued to innovate and seek new opportunities for excellence in our work with new initiatives and projects including: commencing the build for a new state-of-the-art nature and play-based education and care service at Midway Point; strengthening our partnership with Early Childhood Australia Tasmania Branch and The Early Years and School Age Care (EYSAC) Workforce Strategy to work towards better outcomes for our educators and our sector; the inaugural Children’s Creative Arts Exhibition at Campbell Street Education and Care Service; continued work on a new Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) which will again underpin and guide our work in deepening the organisation’s cultural awareness and competence; and work towards improving some suggestions raised in the customer satisfaction survey.
LGT’s work with children and families in our Education and Care Services is underpinned by the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA). Excellence in our work with children is guided by the National Quality Framework and quality improvement is ensured through rigorous Assessment and Ratings and Quality Improvement Programs (QIPs).
Recruitment for the role of Quality and Risk Manager in September 2022 has, for the first time, provided LGT with the resources and expertise to put the spotlight on quality, risk and striving for excellence in all that we do. Work in this area has included: creating new policy SharePoint structures to version controls and managing all organisational, education and care and RTO policies, procedures, and forms by category; commencing work on implementing a new Camms Risk and Compliance platform (to be operational by late 2023); reviewing the organisational risk management framework; developing and implementing a compliance framework; and commencing a project to roll out the 1Place quality and compliance platform across all our education and care services.
LGT’s latest news, achievements, innovations, and examples of excellence have been shared and communicated regularly with our community through CEO Connections, Storypark, Education and Care Newsletters, Gowrie Training & Consultancy Newsletters, Inclusion Agency Tasmania Newsletters, local newspapers, and social media platforms. LGT continued to engage our community by celebrating relevant national celebrations including NAIDOC Week, Children’s Week and Harmony Day. LGT continued to provide families with current research and resources to support and enhance their parenting journey.
Further information about innovation and striving for excellence for our people can be found in the People and Culture Report here.
Further information about best practice and striving for excellence within our Education and Care Services can be found in the General Manager Education and Care Report here.
Further information about supportive measures and striving for excellence for Tasmanian children and their families can be found in the Child and Family Wellbeing Report here.
Further information about new opportunities and striving for excellence within our Gowrie Training & Consultancy, Registered Training Organisation, Inclusion Agency Tasmania and In-Home Care can be found in the General Manager Learning, Development and Inclusion Report here.
STRATEGIC GOAL 2: VALUED, RESPECTED, PROFESSIONAL TEAM
In December 2022, we said farewell to Kathy Cripps when she retired after an incredible 26 years of service to LGT. Kathy’s passion for the education and care sector, her commitment to ‘getting the job done’ regardless of her working hours or personal commitments and dedication to ensuring the best outcomes for children, families and educators in her work was second to none. In January 2023, we welcomed Shanna Hughes as General Manager Education and Care. Shanna came to LGT with a wealth of experience and expertise in the education and care sector. This has been evident with the many innovative and thoughtful contributions she has made in this role so far. Shanna was well supported by the entire education and care team as she settled into her new role, and I thank our people for that.
I was honoured to be invited to participate in the Apiary Fellowship for 2023. This is an early childhood education and care (ECEC) systems change leadership program run by The Front Project (an ECEC research, advocacy and collaboration group) which involves a number of face-to-face forums and online collaborative work during the year. I am proud to be the first Tasmanian to participate in this program and am very much looking forward to sharing my learning and insights with my LGT and sector colleagues.
More information about developing and supporting our people can be found in the People and Culture Report here.
STRATEGIC GOAL 3: LEADERSHIP FOR CHILDREN IN OUR COMMUNITY
Our people continued to actively represent LGT through their continued advocacy for the best outcomes for children and their families, communities, our workforce, and our sector. Advocating our deep experience and expertise with children to state and federal government processes is an important part of what we do, how we maintain a positive reputation in the sector and with government, and how we participate in seeking change that positively impacts children and their families, educators, communities, and our sector.
LGT’s advocacy and representation in 2022-23 has included:
- Participation on Peak Bodies – Gowrie Australia, Early Childhood Australia, Tasmania Branch executive members, Early Childhood Australia Reconciliation Advisory Group – National
- Ministers Reference Group on Early Childhood Education and Care (Australian Government)
- Children’s Education and Care Industry Reference Committee (National)
- Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) Interagency Committee
- Department of Education, Children and Young People and Education and Care Unit – ECEC Stakeholders Reference Group
- Department of Education, Children and Young People – Community Services and Health Industry Advisory Group
- Department of Education, Children and Young People – Universal Access for 3-year-old Co-Design Working Group
- Department of Education, Children and Young People – B4 Leaders Coalition Member
- Department of Education, Children and Young People – Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) Reference Committee
- Workforce Coalition Member for Tasmanian Community Services Industry Plan
- Department of Health – Move Well Eat Well Program
- Member of the Cancer Council Tasmania SunSmart Early Childhood Program
- Reconciliation Tasmania – Circle Group Members
In my advocacy role as CEO, I developed stronger connections with key stakeholders, government ministers and the Tasmanian Commissioner for Children and Young People, Leanne McLean, through representation on advisory boards and face-to-face meetings. My representation on many advisory boards ensured that the issues facing LGT, and our sector remained the firm focus of discussions and kept these issues on the agenda for future policy decisions affecting our sector.
LGT’s advocacy work in 2022-23 has included:
- Continued partnership with the Department of Education initiative ‘Working Together’ (WT) with the Alanvale Education and Care Service facilitating 8 places at the service for 3-year-old children who had not accessed any form of early learning. This year we had the honour of Minister Roger Jaensch MP, Minister for Education, Children and Youth visiting Alanvale to meet educators and the children. It provided the opportunity to reinforce the message that LGT is ready to work with the government on implementing future preschool programs and other early childhood priorities;
- Appointment to the Governance Group of the Industry Advisory Council. This initiative is a joint initiative of TasCOSS and the State Government to address workforce shortages in the community services industry in Tasmania across four domains: Early Childhood, Social Services, Disability Services and Aged Care. This is the first time Early Childhood has been included in this plan which is a significant step forward;
- Attendance at a roundtable by Minister Anne Aly in Melbourne in August 2022 to discuss the issues related to workforce attraction, wages, recruitment, and retention in our sector. Minister Aly has held 6 roundtables with the sector regarding the issues we currently face with a special focus on workforce shortages, and wages and conditions;
- Representation in the Workforce Strategy Project and contracted by ECA to employ the Early Years and School Age Care Workforce Strategy Project Manager, Kellie Watson, for the next three years. This is a significant opportunity for LGT to continue to advocate and influence both the early childhood workforce, including skills initiatives, and influencing the agenda around workforce;
- Attendance at the first face-to-face meeting of the Minister’s Early Childhood Education and Care Reference Group to discuss increases to the Child Care Subsidy (CCS) from July 2023, the increase in funding in NSW and Victoria for universal pre-school and new policy initiatives in other states, the activity test requirements for CCS, the new child care access website Starting Blocks, research on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Care Services and skilled migration issues;
- Commitment to Gowrie Australia (GA) fortnightly meetings in order to keep abreast of the many reforms and inquiries into our sector. We met face-to-face in Melbourne in May 2023 which included a strategic advocacy and planning day with an external consultant. Joint projects were discussed including rebranding GA, the management exchange and joint PD between Queensland and Tasmania, and subject-specific networks to share information. The first being People and Culture and consideration of an ‘internal transfer’ project for Gowrie staff moving states, as well as looking at a collective national recruitment campaign;
- Participation in the co-design and consultative processes for the Tasmanian Universal Early Learning for 3-year-olds. A Co-Design Steering Committee was appointed and is Co-chaired by the Deputy Secretary of DECYP (Jenny Burgess) and LGT’s previous CEO Ros Cornish. Ros has been employed by DECYP at the request of the Minister to co-chair and assist as an independent sector consultant. Annette Barwick from LGT also attends as the ECA representative. I have been engaging with the Department directly and LGT participated in the consultation process;
- Attendance at an Early Years Consultation with Minister Anne Aly MP in Sorell;
- Appointed as a B4 Leader by the Minister Roger Jaensch MP, Minister for Education, Children and Youth; and
- Participated in consultations and submissions to the Productivity Commission and ACCC Inquiries into education and care sector.
LGT has also continued our strong advocacy by having a regular presence in the media, through my opinion pieces in The Mercury to television and radio interviews in which we have continued to advocate for the best interests of our children, families, workforce and the education and care sector. It is an honour and a privilege for me to represent LGT and at times, that of the sector, at both state and national levels. Participation in these discussions is vital to ensure future government policy developments benefit LGT’s children, families, clients, learners, our people, and the broader Tasmanian community.
Other LGT and Gowrie Training & Consultancy funded projects for 2022-23 can be found here.
LGT’s contributions to Gowrie Australia’s national publication, Reflections, can be found here.
STRATEGIC GOAL 4: GROWTH AND FLEXIBILITY ON STRONG FOUNDATIONS
Once again, LGT continued to thrive and seek new opportunities for growth and development across Tasmania. I note strong growth and an increase in the number of children, families, educators, and learners supported by LGT this year. New positions were created across the organisation to ensure we are resourced appropriately to deal with this growth and ever-increasing compliance and risk issues in our sector. The absolute highlight of the 2022-23 year was witnessing the stunning transformation of the old Department of Education Midway Point Kindergarten building on Penna Road, Midway Point. It is exciting to realise what is possible when LGT owns buildings and can design our own play and learning environments. This has provided great incentive to investigate and seek new opportunities with the purchase of buildings and expanding LGT’s education and care service offering across Tasmania, particularly on the East Coast and North-West Coast. Whilst progress has been slow, negotiations continue regarding LGT purchasing the Campbell Street Education and Care Service and Glenora buildings.
LGT’s solid financial position combined with successful government grant applications saw upgrades to many LGT buildings and education and care services. Generous Education and Care Unit (ECU) Minor Infrastructure Grants supported upgrades in the north including shade sails at Pedder Street. In the south, an additonal shade umbrella has been installed at Kingston, a bathroom upgrade at University South and a replacement of vinyl and carpet in the Wellington Room at Campbell Street. A community grant allowed for the installation of a shade umbrella at Oatlands. A generous bequest from a member of LGT’s community also ensured the installation of a new shade umbrella at Campbell Street. Other upgrades supported by LGT to improve safety and storage have included: asphalt repairs at Pedder Street and University South; rubber soft fall installed in Oatland’s playground; new sandpits at Campbell Street and Acton; storage sheds installed at Acton and Kingston; landscape improvements at George Town; completion of an internal painting project from 2021-22; and a joint DECYP and LGT completion of internal and external painting at Oatlands. New external signage with updated contact details and branding has now been installed across all education and care services.