March 10th, 2023



Bold Recommendations Could Change The Way Australians Approach Children, Care and Work in The Early Years

10 March 2023 – Minderoo Foundation’s Thrive by Five initiative has welcomed the bold recommendations for early years reform, contained in the final report of the Senate Select Committee on Work and Care, released on Thursday [1].

Thrive by Five Director, Jay Weatherill said if implemented they could fundamentally change the way parents in Australia would juggle work and care in the critical first five years of a child’s life and allow every child to access the benefits of high-quality early learning and care.

“The Select Committee has laid out a nation- changing early years reform agenda,” Mr Weatherill said.

“This is the kind of whole scale change in the early years Australian children, parents and carers, and workplaces require.

“We know that the first five years of a child’s life are the best opportunity we must give them the best possible start in life.

“These years are also some of the most challenging ones for parents to juggle their responsibilities at home and at work.

“It is in all our best interests to make the early years both as developmentally conducive for children and as easy as possible to navigate for parents and carers.

“We have a tremendous opportunity to change how we approach them and if we get it right, we can set our nation up for the future.”

The Select Committee’s early years recommendations include:

  • Establishing a truly universal early childhood education and care system, for the benefit of all families

  • Investing in 100 publicly owned and operated early learning centres in rural and remote Australia, and additional investment to address childcare deserts

  • Extending preschool access to three-year-olds and increasing preschool hours for four-year-olds

  • Investing in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled care and support services

  • Abolishing the Activity Test, which an Impact Economics report released this week says prevents more than 100,000 women from participating in the workforce [2]

  • Investing in wage increases for early childhood educators and teachers, among other care industry workers

  • Increasing paid parental leave entitlements to 52 weeks

  • Setting up a review of inclusion support services so all children can access high-quality early learning, no matter their circumstances.

“I urge the Federal Government to carefully consider the Select Committee’s recommendations and include this critical work in the development of the National Early Years Strategy currently being undertaken,” he said.

[1] Final Report – Senate Select Committee on Work and Care

[2] Activity Test Report – Impact Economics