Leaders, parents and communities unite under Thrive by Five, calling for ECEC reform

by Freya Lucas

September 01, 2020

Australians from all sides of politics, and different parts of the community will come together today to help launch Minderoo Foundation’s Thrive by Five campaign, and advocate for Australia’s early learning education and care (ECEC) system to be high quality and universally accessible.

 

At the core of the campaign’s message is that every child, regardless of where they grow up or who their parents are, should be given the best chance to reach their full potential. 

 

“We need to sharpen the national conversation when it comes to our children to help build momentum for a shift in policy thinking to ensure every Australian child has the chance to thrive,” Minderoo Foundation Co-Chair Nicola Forrest said, calling for a transformation from the existing system into one which integrates all of the services which support families and children.

 

The official launch of the campaign will feature Mrs Forrest, Thrive by Five CEO Jay Weatherill, preeminent child and maternal health expert Fiona Stanley, former Federal Minister Julie Bishop, ACTU President Michele O’Neil and a range of business leaders, unions, educators, health professionals, parents, community organisations and economists all campaigning for change.

 

Mr Weatherill, former South Australian premier, described the system currently governing ECEC in Australia as “out-dated and expensive”, and one which is “failing children, women, families and the economy”.

 

“Many children are missing out because fees are too high, but children need early learning so they can live productive lives. It is no longer acceptable that 22 per cent of children entering primary school start behind because, sadly, many of them never bridge that gap,” Mr Weatherill said.

 

Affordable care is another important component of the Thrive by Five campaign, with Mr Weatherill noting that families with young children, who are currently spending 27 per cent of household income in childcare fees “deserve higher quality, more affordable solutions.”

 

“A universal early learning and childcare system would add up to 380,000 parents – mainly women – to the workforce. This would lead to an increase in productivity, incomes, GDP, and government revenue,” he said. 

 

“This is reform that is good for children, for women, for families, and for the economy – all critical considerations in the design of our post-COVID economic and social recovery.”

 

Along with universal access to early learning, and integrated services for children and families, the Thrive by Five campaign seeks the following outcomes: 

 

  • Quality early learning delivery standards with secure, appropriately paid employment for educators

 

  • Place-based, community-driven centres

 

  • Early childhood development system connected to the education system.

 

The online campaign launch will take place tonight, 1 September 2020, at 7:30pm (AEST) and is free to attend. For more information and to register for the launch please see here.

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