A new report from the Centre for Policy Development, Growing Together: A future universal early childhood education and care system for Australia, has proposed 10 reforms to enhance accessibility, affordability, equity and quality, aligning early learning with other universal services like public schooling and Medicare.

The report’s key reforms are:

  • A legislated entitlement for all children to access three days of education and care per week at a low set fee, such as $10 a day, or no cost.
  • Shifting to a child-centred funding model, replacing the childcare subsidy with base funding for all providers and additional needs and service-based funding for specific costs.
  • Ensuring the system is equitable and inclusive by providing increased support and funding based on children and families’ needs.

The report underscores the critical need for boosting workforce support and investment, clearly defining government roles and responsibilities, embedding equity and inclusion, and enhancing data sharing. It emphasises that these reforms are essential to creating an inclusive and effective early learning system.

The report acknowledges that it will take time to transition to a new system, and proposes a 10-year timeframe to phase the elements in.

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