The Parenthood supports calls made by the Thrive by Five campaign today for new laws providing Australian children and families with guaranteed early learning entitlements.
The proposed Thrive by Five Early Childhood Guarantee (Universal access to early childhood services and benefits) Bill 2024 would include:
• High-quality, universally accessible early childhood education and care (ECEC);
• Universal and free access to maternal and child health care;
• Two years of preschool in the years before school; and
• More generous paid parental leave with better flexibility.
Earlier this week, The Parenthood launched a new report outlining the challenges of parents in accessing regional, rural and remote early learning and care.
Recent polling conducted for The Parenthood found most Australian parents with children under six are struggling with living expenses and the high cost of ECEC are adding to financial struggles.
Jessica Rudd, interim CEO of The Parenthood said, “Australia should be the best place in the world to raise children, however we need ambitious reform of early learning to achieve this vision and make it reality.
“The Parenthood urges Australia’s political leaders to consider this new push to enshrine ‘Every Child’s Right to Thrive by Five’.
“We know the current early learning system does not deliver on the expectations of modern families and is not equitable, particularly falling short on meeting the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, children with disability or low-income or single parent families. We need new ideas, new approaches and policy reform to achieve universal access to affordable and quality early learning and better support for children and families in the early years.
“At The Parenthood, we are advocates, not policy architects, but we know parents are ready for Canberra and the states to tackle big ideas like the Canadian model, which offers families access to quality education and care for $10 a day.
“Australian parents expect to make some kind of small co-contribution to the education of their children in line with the rest of the schooling system, but current fees are prohibitive for most families and are pricing parents out of work.
“The Parenthood has also been a long-term supporter for more generous paid parental leave of up to 52 weeks and more flexibility on how leave is taken.
“Australia lags behind developed countries in the provision of best practice, evidence-based policies that support families and children and lacks a unified approach to such policies and practices. The Federal Government has the opportunity for reform in this term of government that goes a long way towards fixing this,” she said.