Parenting matters. In raising children, parents have the future in their hands. By the age of 5, 90% of a child’s brain is fully developed so the early years of a child’s life are richly formative. Children fare best when they are well nourished, responsively cared for with learning opportunities from birth onwards, and protected from disease, violence and stress.
Australia lags 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. This fails to deliver optimal outcomes for children, parents, society and the economy.
Our report 'Making Australia the best place in the world to be a parent' lays out a blueprint for a coordinated framework of evidence based policies to support parents and children.
Making Australia the best place in the world to be a parent requires the deliberate creation of conditions that allow parents and children to thrive, rather than simply survive.
We recommend significant investment in:
■ Universal health and wellbeing support for parents and children through pregnancy and the early years;
■ A paid parental leave (PPL) scheme that provides one year of paid leave to be equally
shared between both parents;
■ Free and high-quality early childhood education and care (ECEC) for all families; and
■ Flexible and supportive workplaces with universal access to paid carers’ leave for
Our analysis indicates that the combined impact of these recommended policies would:
■ Enhance childhood development and lift long term productivity.
■ Increase female participation and productivity, reducing the gender gap in workforce
participation and earnings.
Deliberately pursuing policies to make Australia the best place in the world to be a parent presents the most compelling and valuable path to ensure Australia’s recovery from the pandemic leads to a healthier, more equitable and more sustainable future. The impact for parents, children and all Australians would be life-changing and help build a better future.
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