Ambitious policy paper launches in WA outlining extensive support for early childhood

Ambitious policy paper launches in WA outlining extensive support for early childhood

by Freya Lucas

October 27, 2020

Advocacy campaign Thrive by Five has held a policy forum to discuss the future of early learning in Western Australia following the release of a new policy paper from CoLab – Collaborate for Kids (a joint initiative between Telethon Kids Institute and Minderoo Foundation).


The policy paper considers a future system in Western Australia where every family with a child under four years of age could access “all the advice and support they need”, from pregnancy to the first day of compulsory school, within their neighbourhood from friendly, well-trained staff with expertise in maternal and child health, early learning and parenting.  


Using insights from the Telethon Kids Institute and the University of Western Australia (UWA) Public Policy Institute, the forum aimed to inform public discourse leading up to the WA state election, to be held in March 2021. 


As well as Thrive by Five CEO Jay Weatherill, Dr Rosemary Cahill from Telethon Kids Institute, The West Australian’s Federal Political Editor Lanai Scarr, Professor Shamit Saggar from UWA’s Public Policy Institute, Dr Gerardine Neylon from UWA’s Graduate School of Education and Linda Savage, former West Australian Member of Parliament and Ambassador for Children and Young People in Western Australia all featured in the discussion.


Parents, educators, and stakeholders were invited to join the interactive event to develop proposals ahead of the WA state election, with the forum aiming to encourage the broader community, business, and all sides of politics to prioritise early learning and education – something Mr Weatherill said should be “at the top of the agenda”. 


“It’s time to consider what researchers, educators, early learning organisations and, most importantly, parents themselves are saying,” Mr Weatherill said. 


“Australia’s early learning system needs proper reform which would see more women enter the workforce, a stronger economy and reduce cost of living pressures on families, especially as we look at the COVID-19 recovery.”


To read the policy paper, please see here