The Intergenerational Report, released today, predicts a slow-growing and ageing Australian population over the next 40 years, with a rise in demand for care and support services. It is also expected that Australians will remain healthier to an older age and have fewer children.
The Parenthood is calling for a universal and affordable, quality early learning system, aiming to secure a brighter future for families and their children.
“The Intergenerational Report is a wakeup call. Our country needs new strategies and investments to cope with our ageing population and workforce shortfalls,” said Jessica Rudd, CEO of The Parenthood.
“It’s an economic own goal to have parents locked out of paid work or working less hours than desired because they can’t find or can’t afford to pay for a suitable early learning centre for their child.
“Evidence has also shown us that rising childcare fees is deterring many Australians from having children, or having more than one child.
“A comprehensive early learning policy is a win for all: It’s good for children. It’s good for families and it’s good for the economy. It sets Australia up for the challenges of the future and guarantees economic growth, equality and prosperity by boosting women’s participation in the workforce and supporting existing and future parents.
“Early childhood education lays the essential groundwork for children's cognitive, social, and emotional development, equipping them with crucial skills and a strong foundation to navigate and excel in the challenges of the future.
“By providing accessible and affordable early childhood education, women are better equipped to maintain continuous employment, reducing the impact of career breaks on their earning potential and helping to narrow the gender pay gap.
“The Treasurer was right to liken the government’s vision of universal early learning to big hitting policy reform like Medicare and superannuation in the Productivity Commission Inquiry’s terms of reference.
“The Federal Government’s appetite for comprehensive reform of the early childhood education and care system over the next decade will set Australia up to cope with what the Intergenerational Report projects.
“The success or failure of future Australians is in the hands of today’s policy makers. Bold early learning reform has the potential to restore hope in a better future for the children and parents of 2063 and the economy they benefit from,” Ms Rudd said.