EMPLOYMENT WHITE PAPER RECOGNISES EARLY LEARNING AS CATALYST TO BOOST PRODUCTIVITY
25 September 2023 – The Minderoo Foundation’s Thrive by Five campaign has welcomed the Federal Government’s Employment White Paper, which identifies the vital role that early childhood education plays in boosting productivity, by building foundational skills for children and creating an inclusive workforce.
The paper, released today, outlines an ambitious reform plan to build a skilled and more inclusive future-ready workforce. Thrive by Five commends the Paper for its recognition of early childhood education as vital social infrastructure that enables:
· Greater workforce participation for parents, especially mothers who are often excluded from contributing to the economy due to child-caring responsibilities,
· Improved opportunity for young children to build the foundational skills that set them up for success later in life, and,
· A proliferation of job creation within the care economy.
“To ensure that Australia works towards building a strong and resilient economy that encourages higher levels of full-time employment, accessible and affordable high-quality early childhood education and care is not just important, it is vital,” said Thrive by Five spokesperson Griff Longley.
“Making high-quality early childhood education and care (ECEC) more affordable and accessible would allow more parents to work, increase family incomes, boost productivity and address the cost-of-living crisis.
“The Government’s Employment White Paper recognises the crucial role access to high-quality, affordable and accessible early childhood education and care plays in assisting parents and primary carers, who are predominantly women, to re-enter the workforce.”
The Federal Government has already increased the maximum childcare subsidy rate, however more needs to be done to make making high quality early learning more accessible and affordable.
Thrive by Five is calling for additional measures such as scrapping the Activity Test, investing in rural early learning infrastructure, rolling out universal three and four-year-old preschool nationwide, strengthening the early learning workforce through improving wages, and making early care more affordable.
“A high quality, universally accessible and affordable early childhood education and care system will benefit Australia’s economy, our parents and caregivers and most importantly, our children,” Mr Longley said.