Thrive by Five backs urgent call for more accessible early learning in remote Indigenous communities
27 September 2022 – Minderoo Foundation’s Thrive by Five initiative supports calls made by the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC) for accessible early learning and childcare in the Anmatjere region of the Northern Territory.
Community members in the town of Ti Tree, 200km north of Alice Springs, have voiced their concerns in a Voices from Community video compiled by SNAICC, outlining their ongoing calls for the establishment of local centres over the past 12 years.
The Mitchell Institute’s Childcare Deserts report shows that the Anmatjere region records no early learning centres available for local families and their children – within at least 190km.
Thrive by Five Director Jay Weatherill said, “It’s a disgrace that in present-day Australia there are children and families stranded without any formal early learning options, most of them in regional areas and too many in regional and remote Indigenous communities.
“Accessible early learning and childcare is paramount to the wellbeing and development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
“There’s been an increase in Indigenous children attending early learning and childcare centres since 2013, increasing from 2.1 percent to 3.8 per cent. However this is incremental and still leaves Indigenous children underrepresented in the system as a whole.
“It’s also equally important for their parents and carers, who may struggle to participate in the workforce or further educational opportunities due to the lack of early learning and childcare options in their community.
“If we are really committed to closing the gap in educational outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children then we must make sure they have the opportunity to access local, community-led early learning and childcare.
“We echo SNAICC’s call for immediate action to make it more accessible for people in the Anmatjere region, and in other remote Indigenous communities facing the same issues.”
Learn more about Early Learning for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children on the SNAICC website: https://www.snaicc.org.au/policy-and-research/early-childhood/
 2021 National Workforce Census, Department of Education, Australian Government, https://www.dese.gov.au/child-care-package/early-childhood-data-and-reports/national-workforce-census