Media release: CEW Welcomes Productivity Commission Report and calls for Universal Early Childhood Education and Care

CEW welcomes and supports the Productivity Commission’s Report into Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) and takes this opportunity to welcome the new Productivity Commission Chair and CEW member Danielle Wood to this important role.

CEW supports the key recommendations of the report, namely:

  • Building towards universal, free or low-cost access for all children to quality, flexible early childhood education and care, 30 hours or three days a week of quality ECEC should be available to all children aged 0-5 years.
  • Prioritising the workforce challenges facing the sector, improving career and qualification pathways within, and into, early childhood professions.
  • Relaxing the Child Care Subsidy Activity Test so that it is not a barrier for any family wishing to access up to 30 hours or three days a week of ECEC services.

CEW President Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz commented:
“The report validates the importance of providing universal early childhood care if we want to leverage the full economic participation of all Australians and improve the nation’s productivity.

A sustainable and thriving early childhood sector is not only good for families and businesses, but also critical to maintaining a thriving Australian economy.

Australian families face early childhood costs that are amongst the most expensive in the OECD and recent research by Thrive By Five found that for 40% of Australian families, childcare is unaffordable.

Investing in universal, high quality early childhood education and care is key to enabling greater workforce participation of all parents and, in particular, women who are more likely to be adversely impacted by the current system.

In a tight labour market, we cannot afford to waste our nation’s investment in our skilled and highly educated women who are currently underutilised.

What’s more, with 90% of brain development occurring before the age of five, investing in early childhood care will have decade long benefits for Australia’s community and economy at large.

“As a nation, we have the potential to restore Australia as a world leader on gender equality and create infrastructure for care and family support that delivers significant benefits for generations to come. The Productivity Commission’s new report provides a roadmap for that future’”. 

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