Australia must follow US lead on historic investment in early learning and childcare: Thrive by Five
29 April 2020 – The Thrive by Five campaign has today called on Treasurer Josh Frydenberg to follow US President Joe Biden’s lead and lock in significant investment in early learning and childcare in the upcoming Federal Budget.
The President has today announced free preschool for all 3- and 4-year-old children across the US as part of a wider US$200 billion (AUD$258 billion) reform package.
The average US family will save US$13,000 in childcare costs from the reform and educators will receive a wage increase with the minimum wage rising to US$15 per hour.
The US announcement comes days after the Canadian Government announced it would spend CAD$30 billion (AUD$30 billion) over five years to help offset the cost of early learning and childcare services and follows Japan’s ¥776 billion (AUD$9.8 billion) a year investment in preschool education and long day care services.
Thrive by Five CEO Jay Weatherill said: “Australia’s Federal Government must lift its ambition and investment in early learning and childcare or risk falling behind countries like the Canada, Japan and now Biden’s US who are treating the education of the next generation as critical national infrastructure.
“We know making early learning and childcare more affordable is one of the most effective ways of growing our economy, creating jobs, empowering women to participate more fully in the workplace and giving children the best start in life,” Mr Weatherill said.
Recent polling from Essential Research revealed a majority of Australians (63 per cent) agree more affordable early childhood education would be very good for the Australian economy as a whole.
“We also had a powerful statement yesterday from prominent Australian women, including Business Council of Australia CEO Jennifer Westacott, Australian Council of Trade Unions President Michele O’Neil, Chief Executive Women President Sam Mostyn, Goodstart Early Learning Deputy Chair Natalie Walker and The Parenthood Executive Director Georgie Dent calling for the Government’s upcoming Federal Budget to lift the economic security and safety of women by lifting investment in and reforming early childhood education,” Mr Weatherill said.
“They want the Government to work towards the goal of universal access to quality early childhood education and care, reform childcare subsidies and improve funding for educators.
“The time is now. This Federal Budget is an opportunity for a once-in-a-generation reform of early learning and the investment needed to make it happen.”