Universally accessible, high-quality and affordable early learning a critical consideration for independent inquiry into economic equity for Victorian women
13 July 2021 – The Thrive by Five campaign has welcomed the Victorian Government’s announcement of an Independent Inquiry into Economic Equity for Victorian Women.
Thrive by Five CEO Jay Weatherill said the inquiry’s focus on long-standing systemic gender inequality and finding solutions to workplace barriers to women’s success was a prime opportunity for generational change.
“Universally accessible, high-quality and affordable early learning and childcare is critical for helping to achieve gender equality and give women greater choice about their workplace participation,” he said.
“In modern day Australia it takes two incomes for most families to buy a house, but it takes affordable childcare to earn two incomes.
“A universally accessible, high-quality early learning system would allow an extra 98,800 parents to get back into the workforce . The Grattan Institute also found it could deliver a 13 per cent increase in hours worked by second income earners, mostly women, with young children .
“Behind the statistics, many Australian women and families today face tough decisions when pulling together an early learning arrangement that is affordable and suits the needs of their children and households.
“This not only causes parental stress and impacts wellbeing, it means our nation is squandering the potential contribution of some of our best and brightest because they can’t access adequate early learning and care for their young children. It makes no sense for children, women, families or our economy.
“Australian governments must work together to dramatically increase equity and the options available for women’s lives and workplace participation, and this inquiry is a prime opportunity for listening to women and working towards solutions,” Mr Weatherill said.
More on the Victorian Government’s Independent Inquiry into Economic Equity for Victorian Women here: https://www.dtf.vic.gov.au/genderinquiry
Thrive by Five National 5-point Plan for National Cabinet
1. Agree to a Federal-State Partnership to deliver universal three year old preschool across the country to match the partnership agreement in place for four year old preschool.
2. Lift the childcare subsidy to 95% for all children and set agreed fee caps.
3. Make the childcare subsidy available to all children regardless of the service and the income or work status of the parents.
4. Start workforce planning for a universal system and fund appropriate pay and conditions for educators and childcare workers to end the problem of skill shortages, high vacancy rates and high staff turnover rates across the sector.
5. To achieve these outcomes, we ask that early education and childcare become a part of the National Cabinet reform agenda to deal with complexities of the system and build a true national universal system.