ECA National Conference wraps up with Minister’s address
The Sector > Workforce > ECA National Conference wraps up with Minister’s address and awards presentation

ECA National Conference wraps up with Minister’s address and awards presentation

by Freya Lucas

October 10, 2022

The 2022 Early Childhood Australia (ECA) National Conference concluded in Canberra on Saturday with Hon. Julia Gillard AC and Australian Minister for Early Childhood Education Hon. Dr Anne Aly addressing the sector. 


Attended by over 2,000 delegates, either in person or virtually, the conference led participants on a professional learning journey sparked by the 2022 conference theme ‘Passion to power: Our future profession’.  


Other key ministers, including Hon. Jason Clare MP and Ms Yvette Berry MLA, and keynote speakers Dylan Alcott AO, Dr Laura Jana and Dean Parkin, also appreciated the delegates for their contribution as early childhood education professionals.


The Hon. Julia Gillard AC gave a powerful keynote address and appeared in conversation with SNAICC – National Voice for Our Children CEO Catherine Liddle, where she spoke about the importance of investing in early childhood education and care, gender equality, closing the gap and effective funding models for early education.


Ms Gillard applauded the current government’s “measured approach”, outlining that early childhood education and care (ECEC) reform requires thought, planning and confrontation, followed by driving the reform through. 


“I am absolutely convinced we are headed in the right direction,” she told attendees. 


“Many important things have changed and if we were capable of changing those things, then we’re capable of doing the rest together. This is a journey of work for women in the lead but also for the men who support us, because a gender-equal world would be a better world for everyone, and that’s certainly worth fighting for.”


Minister Aly notes the importance of placing children at the centre of ECEC decision making while emphasising the vital importance of ensuring all children have equal opportunities to access early learning. 


“Early childhood education is vital to a child’s progress and no child born into any form of disadvantage should have to carry that disadvantage through life,” she told the crowd. 


“Early childhood education is the way for us to achieve true quality for substantive equality for children in Australia.”


During her address the Minister also spoke briefly about the Early Years Strategy which will have a focus on holistic education and care including child health and wellbeing, and addressing workforce issues with sustainable and long-term reforms.


Researchers and advocates honoured with awards 


ECA also presented awards to standout researchers and advocates in the ECEC sector to honour their contributions to the lives of young children, early childhood practice and the early childhood profession.


Dr Amelia Ruscoe received the ECA Doctoral Thesis Award, Ros Cornish was honoured with the Barbara Creaser Lecture Award, Emma Cross with the Barbara Creaser Young Advocate Award, and Wendy McDuff with the Barbara Creaser Champion Award.


“It is ECA’s intention that delegates leave the conference with a renewed sense of hope and optimism for the future. We know the difference this profession makes in the lives of young children’s development, wellbeing and life trajectories. The conference has certainly renewed ECA’s resolve to continue to work to ensure that the sector’s effort is met with the recognition they deserve,” an ECA spokesperson said. 


The 2023 ECA National Conference will be held in Adelaide, South Australia, from 4-7 October. 

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