Thrive by Five, a national campaign lobbying for significant childcare reform, has welcomed Federal Labor’s announcement that it will make childcare more accessible and remove the disincentive for parents to work more hours, amongst other measures, should it win the next election.
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese outlined the policy in his budget reply speech this evening.
Minderoo Foundation Co-chair Nicola Forrest AO welcomed Mr Albanese’s policy announcement and said she wanted both sides of politics to unite behind Thrive by Five’s push for universally accessible early learning.
“While it is pleasing to see the Federal Labor Party come on board, Australia’s broken early learning system needs bipartisan support,” Mrs Forrest said.
“Our children’s future should not be dictated by election cycles.
“This is reform that is good for children, for women, for families, and for the economy – all critical considerations in the design of our post-COVID economic and social recovery.”
Thrive by Five CEO Jay Weatherill said the announcement was another step in the right direction as the Thrive by Five campaign continued to gather momentum.
“The next step of our campaign is to win bipartisan support,” Mr Weatherill said.
“Early learning shouldn’t be a left or right issue, it should be viewed as a chance to do what’s best for children, support young families and help our economy recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Mr Weatherill said families with young children were currently spending up to 27 per cent of household income on childcare fees and deserved a higher quality, more affordable solution.
“Many children are missing out because fees are too high, but children need early learning so they can live productive lives,” he said.
“It is no longer acceptable that 22 per cent of children entering primary school start behind because, sadly, many of them never bridge that gap.”
“A universal early learning and childcare system would add up to 380,000 parents – mainly women – to the workforce. This would lead to an increase in productivity, incomes, GDP, and government revenue.”
Even prior to Mr Albanese’s commitment this evening, momentum has been growing for change at a State level, Mr Weatherill said.
“We’re delighted that we’re now seeing some action at the Federal level,” he said.
“The push for a proper early learning system has been gaining momentum since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and governments across the country are beginning to recognise the importance of the issue.”
Thrive by Five is a grassroots community campaign advocating for Australia’s early learning childcare system to be high quality and universally accessible.
The campaign has already secured support from preeminent child and maternal health expert Fiona Stanley, former Federal Minister Julie Bishop, ACTU President Michele O’Neil and a range of business leaders, unions, educators, health professionals, parents, community organisations and economists.