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The report The Economic Benefits of High-Quality Universal Early Child Education released today by the Centre for Future Work finds:

  • Increasing funding to Australia’s early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector would provide a substantial boost to the country’s post-COVID economic recovery.
  • Expanding ECEC would benefit the economy in three ways: increased workforce participation for women, greater ability for women to work full-time hours, and jobs growth both directly and indirectly associated with ECEC.
  • The economic growth achieved through expanding the sector would eclipse the initial investment, effectively ‘paying for itself’.
  • By concentrating new funding only for public and not-for-profit ECEC centres, a public-centred ECEC expansion plan would generate employment gains one-third larger than if the funds went to private for-profit centres.


Quotes attributable to Helen Gibbons, Director Early Education, United Workers Union:

“The report released today by the Centre for Future Work is clear: increasing funding to early education would pay for itself. New funding must be directed to public or not-for-profit provision of early education for children, families and tax-payers to see the most benefit.

“The Federal Government has put the wellbeing and development of the nation’s children at the mercy of the free market. That market has failed.

“In just the past few weeks it’s been revealed that there is huge inequality of access to early education depending on where you live, as private providers over-saturate lucrative metropolitan areas and abandon regional families. We’ve seen children are going hungry because of cost-cutting to their food budgets, while private for-profit providers pocket millions in parents’ fees and federal funding.

“The Federal Budget was a wasted opportunity to commit to real change for the early education sector. Scott Morrison’s government has squandered their opportunity to make real change.

“Allowing early education to be privatised has been a colossal failure. The system is broken. Without federal intervention, underpaid educators will continue to leave, families will continue to pay rising fees, and children will continue to go hungry.

“An early education system driven by profit will never deliver the quality that children and parents deserve. The only way to ensure that standards of quality are met is to remove profit as an aim for providers.

“United Workers Union calls on the Federal Government to commit to structural reform of the early learning sector, to stop providers putting profits over children.

“It’s time to invest in a public early childhood education system that delivers quality early education for all.”



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