CPD’s Early Childhood Development Initiative has built consensus across business, academia, government and civil society on a universal Guarantee for Young Children and Families to give all children in Australia the best start to life.
Alongside partners and the ECD Council, we are working closely with decision-makers and the sector to sequence and connect vital reforms delivering Starting Better’s guarantee.
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$43.8 billion investment in early childhood across State and Federal Governments
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At a Commonwealth level key components of the Guarantee have been delivered, including new legislation to expand paid parental leave to 28 weeks and billions of dollars of investment to boost early education and care subsidies for families. and make childcare more accessible.
CPD have engaged with other significant reform efforts too – the Productivity Commission is examining models for universal early education and care, the ACCC is conducting an inquiry into childcare pricing, and the National Early Years Strategy will provide national direction.
The terms of reference for the Productivity Commission emphasise the Commonwealth’s commitment to “universal, affordable ECEC – in the great tradition of universal Medicare and universal superannuation,” and an independent special commissioner was appointed to the inquiry, in line with CPD’s recommendation.
In February 2023, 40 organisations signed an open letter supporting the Guarantee, with a legislated right to universally accessible, high-quality early childhood education and care at its core.
Two key government advisory bodies – the Women’s Economic Equality Task Force and the Economic Inclusion Advisory Panel both recommended universal, quality early education and care as a high-priority economic reform alongside other components of the Guarantee.
The final report from the Senate Select Committee on Work and Care included a section on the Starting Better guarantee.
National Cabinet is collaborating on a shared vision for early education and care that supports children, their families, care workers and the country.
This will support collaborative reforms between the Commonwealth and States to deliver an election-eve commitment by the incoming Prime Minister to universal early education and care.
The decade of reforms charted in Starting Better has begun. By providing concrete, practical and collaborative guidance, we are building the connected, universal early childhood system that children, their families and our nation needs to thrive.
The NSW and Victorian Governments drew heavily on the work of CPD and Council members to make landmark investments and agree to 30 hours a week of fully subsidised preschool over the next decade at a cost of $16 billion alone for NSW. The governments’ once-in-a-generation investment in early education and care recognised its importance as critical social infrastructure.
The interim report of the South Australian Royal Commission recommended the core elements of the Guarantee as the ideal end state of the early childhood system, and ECD Council co-Chair Leslie Loble sat on the expert panel advising the Royal Commission.
As leaders pursue reforms CPD’s work will illuminate best practices on sequencing, designing, delivering and improving early childhood services to make Australia the best place to be a child and raise a family.