Bipartisan support urged for childcare reform as front-running solution to rising cost of living: Thrive By Five
5 May 2022 – Thrive by Five is calling for bipartisan support for major early learning reform in the next term of Federal Government, as childcare is cemented as the front-running solution to the cost of living debate topping the national agenda.
Earlier this week Thrive by Five which engages with over 70 partner organisations representing a movement of more than one million parents, educators and experts – repeated its call for action on early learning.
Thrive by Five Director Jay Weatherill welcomed Labor Leader Anthony Albanese’s comments today that childcare is his legacy issue and has called for bipartisan support for universally accessible, affordable and high-quality early learning for every Australian child.
“Labor and the Greens have joined with unions and key business and women’s groups in a call for more affordable, universal access to high quality early learning and childcare in Australia,” Mr Weatherill said.
“The Coalition should join them and offer a bipartisan commitment that the next Federal Government will act on the ambitious reform of early childhood educations and care.
“Reform of the early learning system is not just an investment in reducing the cost of living, it is the building block for a future where families, parents, children and our economy can thrive.
“There is growing recognition of what parents around the country already know – greater investment in early learning will ease the burden on household budgets from childcare costs, help with rising costs of living, assist parents to increase their participation in the workforce and give children more opportunity for early learning.
“The cost of living and childcare is being talked about at kitchen tables and centre gates around the country, it’s not too late for bipartisan support for action in the next term of Federal Government.
“We need our Federal leaders to listen to parents, early educators, providers and the community, and be willing to work co-operatively with State and Territory leaders to change the childcare system. Already the NSW Government has shown leadership, indicating it will make significant moves on early learning in its upcoming budget.
“Every Australian child should have access to more affordable, high quality early childhood education and care, regardless of where they live and how much parents earn,” Mr Weatherill said.
Thrive by Five’s eight key recommended early learning policy reforms are:
• Long-term Federal and State partnership to fund 15 hours per week of three year old pre-school;
• Long-term Federal and State partnership to fund 15 hours per week of four year old pre-school;
• Progressive increase in the childcare subsidy for first child to 95 per cent, starting with lifting the current subsidy to 90 per cent;
• Increase in the childcare subsidy for second or third children to 100 per cent;
• Make universal early learning system a formal National Cabinet priority;
• Improved workforce planning to fund appropriate pay and conditions for teachers and educators to end the problem of skill shortages, high vacancy rates and high turnover in the sector;
• Phase-in paid parental leave paid at the minimum wage for up to 12 months shared between parents/carers starting with an immediate move to 26 weeks of paid leave; and
• Universal access to maternal and child health care, with additional home visits for families needing extra support.
This publication is for information only concerning the policies of the major political parties and the policy agenda of Thrive by Five. For more detailed information please visit www.thrivebyfive.org.au