February 14th, 2023

Be Bold and Commit To a New Guarantee for Children’ – New Legislation Needed.


‘Be Bold And Commit To A New Guarantee For Children’ – New Legislation Needed

14 February 2023 – The Federal Government’s forthcoming National Early Years Summit presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to lay a new foundation for the early years, according to a diverse coalition of stakeholders.

The group, led by Minderoo Foundation’s Thrive by Five initiative, is urging Summit attendees and the Federal Government to be bold and commit to a new legislated guarantee for all Australian children in an open letter published today in five major metropolitan newspapers.

“It has been clear for many years that the siloed and fractured approach to early years development is letting Australian children and families down,” Thrive by Five Director, Jay Weatherill said.

“With the Early Years Summit and the development of a national Early Years Strategy, we can reshape the early years for future Australian children and through them, secure our nation’s future.”

The open letter calls for a new guarantee for every Australian child, bound by legislation and operationalised by a new Commonwealth and State early childhood body.

This guarantee should have universally accessible, high quality early childhood education and care as its backbone.

It must ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families have access to community-controlled, culturally appropriate services. And, it must ensure every family in Australia has access to:

·       infant and maternal health care;

·       comprehensive family support, including playgroups and inclusive community-based disability support; and

·       at least two years of preschool.

We will only get these outcomes for children with a highly skilled and well paid workforce.

“Such a reform will profoundly affect the way Australian children learn and develop, how families balance care and work, and how our communities prosper and thrive for generations to come.”

“This Summit cannot simply tinker at the edges, nor can it remain tethered to the past.

“We owe it to our children to be ambitious and help lay the foundation for a new approach to the early years,” Mr Weatherill said.

Signatories include:

ARACY – Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth
Australian Education Union
Australian Nursing and Midwifery Fedeation (ANMF)
Berry Street
Bourke & District Children’s Services
Brotherhood of St Laurence
Centre for Policy Development
Child Australia
Children and Young People with Disability Australia (CYDA)
Community Connections Solutions Australia (CCSA)
Contact Incorporated
Early Childhood Australia
Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand
Goodstart Early Learning
Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association (Aust)
KU Children’s Services
Learning Links
Life Ed
Life Without Barriers
Macquarie Centre for Research in Early Childhood Education
Mission Australia
Nature Play WA
Our Place | Colman Education Foundation
Playgroup Victoria
Robinson Research Institute, University of Adelaide
SNAICC – National Voice for Our Children
Social Ventures Australia
Telethon Kids Institute
The Benevolent Society
The Bryan Foundation
The Parenthood
Toy Libraries Australia
United Workers Union
Centre for Community Child Health, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute

Dr Sue Packer AM
Emeritus Professor Ross Homel AO, Griffith University
Elaine Henry OAM
Emerita Professor Sue Richardson
Nicola Forrest AO
Professor Andrew Whitehouse
Professor Frank Oberklaid AM
Professor Gervase Chaney MBBS FRACP FAIM
Professor Glenn Withers AO
Professor Kate Fitz-Gibbon, Monash Gender and Family Violence Prevention Centre
Rosie Batty AO
Sue Morphet
Rosie Batty AO