Advocates endore SA Royal Commission findings
The Sector > Workforce > Advocacy > Advocates comment on initiatives proposed by SA Royal Commission

Advocates comment on initiatives proposed by SA Royal Commission

by Freya Lucas

August 31, 2023

Responses to the final report of the South Australian Royal Commission into Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) continue to mount, with advocacy bodies from both within and outside the ECEC sector welcoming the findings and recommendations. 


The Front Project, Early Childhood Australia (ECA), the Early Learning and Care Council of Australia (ELACCA) and the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) have all put forward statements acknowledging the significance of the findings for the ECEC sector across the country, welcoming the work of The Hon. Julia Gillard AC and other researchers involved in the commission’s final report


The report’s 43 recommendations address each of the core areas highlighted in the terms of reference with the completion and release of the report delivering on a major pre-election commitment made by SA Premier Peter Malinauskas to instruct a Royal Commission to look into how three-year-old kindergarten could be introduced across the state. 


“The inquiry has played a vital role in amplifying diverse voices and shaping the future of ECEC in the region,” said Jane Hunt, CEO of the Front Project, commending the SA Government for immediately accepting 13 of the report’s recommendations and committing $70 million to initiate the swift implementation of key measures.


Ms Hunt was a contributor to the public hearings, and welcomed the valuable insights and proposed recommendations brought forth by the Commission. 


An example for all states to follow


RACP President and Paediatrician Dr Jacqueline Small said that all states and territories should follow in South Australia’s footsteps and commit to universal early learning for three-year-old children. 


“The evidence is clear that expanding access to quality early education for three-year-old children has a profoundly positive impact on their social and cognitive development,” she said. 


“We’d like to see all states and territories implementing universal access to quality early childhood education programs for all three-year-olds.” 


RACP’s Kids Catch-Up Campaign has clearly defined priorities to help children catch up in all areas of their health, learning and development, and guaranteeing access to quality early childhood education today, Dr Small said, “means seeing our children succeed in school and experience improved outcomes in literacy, numeracy, and social and emotional wellbeing throughout their lives.” 


Workforce measures a highlight, ELACCA notes


“The importance of nationally consistent recognition of early childhood qualifications is vital for our sector,” ELACCA CEO Elizabeth Death said, “and we thoroughly welcome the recommendation supporting this in South Australia.”


Ms Death said she remains committed to working with the SA Government, the Office for the Early Years, the Education Standards Board and ELACCA members “to deliver sector-wide quality reforms to realise positive and consistent relationships and outcomes for every SA child and family, and reflecting their needs and circumstances”.


“The measures proposed to support developmental assessments and extend supports in preschool settings, while integral, should enhance rather than supplant quality early childhood teaching practice delivered by professionally qualified teachers,” added ECA CEO Sam Page. 


“It is pivotal that early childhood teachers and experts in early years pedagogy play an active role in shaping child assessment approaches and curriculum resources.”  


The Final Report can be accessed on the Royal Commission’s website here. An analysis of how the program may be implemented in long day care settings is available here.  

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