Early learning critical for progress on women’s equality: TB5 demands response from political parties
17 February 2022 – Thrive by Five will today launch its pre-budget submission and call for urgent early learning reform as the start of the second wave of progress for women’s equality.
Thrive by Five’s pre-budget submission outlines the steps political leaders must take now to build on existing reforms and create a world-leading early childhood development system. It includes:
- Increasing respect for early learning workers and better pay and conditions;
- Elevating early learning as a standing item on the national cabinet agenda;
- providing 26 weeks of paid parental leave; and
- Guaranteeing at least 15 hours of 3-year-old preschool in all states and territories.
Minderoo Foundation Co-founder Nicola Forrest said, “It’s been a year to the day since the campaign demanded change at the National Press Club, and while there has been some progress, we need more action to ensure we deliver a universally accessible, high-quality and affordable early learning system for every Australian child.
“Children and families need action now, women need action now.
“Childcare is too expensive and in many parts of Australia not available. This is the single greates impediment to women fully participating in the workforce and achieving economic equality and it shows when Australian women rate equal first in educational achievement globally, but rate seventieth for economic opportunity.”
Thrive by Five CEO Jay Weatherill said, “the message to political leaders from all sides is we want affordable, flexible, high quality early learning.
“The upcoming Federal budget is vital for supporting women and underpinning Australia’s post-pandemic recovery with universally accessible, high quality and affordable early learning, paid parental leave and better pay and conditions for early educators.
“Reforming Australia’s outdated and expensive childcare and early learning system must be a top priority.
“Fixing the early learning system is the type of reform that will define this generation of political leaders, contribute to greater gender equity and set Australia on a trajectory of economic growth unmatched in our nation’s history.
“We know what’s needed to reform the system, now we must have the political will to make it happen.”
Jay Weatherill and Nicola Forrest are available for interview.