Open letter to PM calls for commitment to put early learning reform on NatCab agenda

Open letter to PM calls for commitment to put early learning reform on NatCab agenda

by Jason Roberts

March 11, 2021

An open letter ahead of the upcoming budget to Prime Minister Scott Morrison from a group of prominent women representing a broad range of commercial, governmental and social organisations has called for Government to commit to place early learning reform on the agenda of the National Cabinet as part of a broader effort to address the causes of gender inequality across Australia. 

 

The letter signed by thirty women including Julia Davison, CEO of Goodstart Early Learning, Nicola Forrest AO, Co Chair Minderoo Foundation, Ita Buttrose AC OBE, Chair of the ABC and Jo Toohey, CEO of The Benevolent Society acknowledges the progress made in recent decades in gender equality but notes that disparities between male and female workforce participation rates remain unproductively wide and urgent reform is needed to close the gap. 

 

In particular, they note that “A major barrier stopping women going to work is the cost and quality of childcare” and that “more flexible workplaces, with universally accessible high-quality childcare, will deliver more choice.” 

 

“It is time to recognise that investing in an accessible childcare and early learning system, with valued and well-supported educators, will return a triple dividend: it will improve early learning outcomes for Australian children, increase workforce participation for women, and have long-term productivity gains by contributing to a more skilled workforce.”

 

The letter also questioned why the previous practice of including a women’s impact statement with the Federal Budget which provided visibility of how key decisions and reforms would impact women’s lives was abandoned and called in the interest of transparency for it to be returned. 

 

The complete list of signatories is as follows:

 

Nicola Forrest AO, Co-Chair Minderoo Foundation

 

Lucy Turnbull AO

 

Diane Smith-Gander AO

 

Elizabeth Gaines, CEO Fortescue Metals Group

 

Rosie Batty AO

 

Michele O’Neil, President, ACTU 

 

Prof. Sandra Eades

 

Elaine Henry OAM

 

Hon. Jenny Macklin

 

Dr Sue Packer AM

 

Tonya McCusker AM

 

Stephanie Alexander AO

 

Ita Buttrose AC, OBE

 

Prof. Marcia Langton AO

 

Dr Jen Jackson

 

Prof. Sharon Goldfeld

 

Ronni Kahn AO

CEO & Founder, OzHarvest

 

Mary Patetsos, Chairperson, FECCA

 

Dr Jayne Meyer Tucker, Founder, JMTinc

 

Debby Blakey, CEO, HESTA

 

Georgie Dent, Executive Director, The Parenthood

 

Danielle Wood, CEO, Grattan Institute

 

Correna Haythorpe, Federal President, Australian Education Union 

 

Julia Davison, CEO, Goodstart Early Learning

 

Prof. Kim Rubenstein, FAAL, FASSA, Co-Director, 50/50 by 2030 Foundation

 

Trish Bergin, Co-Director, 50/50 by 2030 Foundation

 

Sue Kingwell, CEO, Contact 

 

Jo-anne Schofield, National President, United Workers Union

 

Dr. Cassandra Goldie, CEO, Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS)

 

Jo Toohey, CEO, The Benevolent Society

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