Release type: Joint Media Release


Expansion of Connected Beginnings program to give thousands of First Nations children a better school start


The Hon Dr Anne Aly MP
Minister for Early Childhood Education
Minister for Youth
The Hon Linda Burney MP
Minister for Indigenous Australians

The Australian Government is expanding the Connected Beginnings program to nine new communities, which will help 3,500 First Nations children be better prepared for school.

Minister for Early Childhood Education, the Hon Dr Anne Aly, announced the locations of the new Connected Beginnings projects while in Geraldton, Western Australia, today. They are:

Geraldton (WA)


South Hedland (WA)


Mackay (QLD)


Eagleby (QLD)


Katherine (NT)


Ngukurr (NT)


Canberra (ACT)


Wagga Wagga (NSW)


Whittlesea (Vic)













The funding for the new sites is part of an investment of $81.8 million from the Australian Government to expand the program nationally to 50 sites by 2025.

Across the 34 new and existing sites, the Connected Beginnings program has the potential to benefit around 11,600 First Nations children in Australia aged 0 to 5 years.

The program connects families to local early childhood education, health and family support services to help young children meet learning and development milestones so they are ready for school.

Connected Beginnings is a key contributor to the Closing the Gap early childhood education targets. It builds partnerships with First Nations communities by supporting community-led decision-making under the National Agreement.

SNAICC, the National Voice For Our Children, is the new Community Partner for Connected Beginnings.

The Department of Health and Aged Care will progressively provide funding for a health partner and additional services in each of the new communities as the program expands.

For more information about Connected Beginnings, visit this website: Connected Beginnings - Department of Education, Australian Government

Quotes attributable to Minister for Early Childhood Education Dr Anne Aly:

“I’m thrilled to be at the location of one of our nine new Connected Beginnings projects today. This program in the Geraldton community alone will help provide 460 First Nations children with the best possible start in life.

“This age bracket of 0-5 years is a small but critical window to get it right when it comes to setting up children for life. Research and data show engaging children in quality early childhood education and care sets them up to succeed at school, university and throughout their lives.

“Connected Beginnings builds on the Albanese Government’s commitment to more affordable early childhood education and care, which will provide greater access for vulnerable and disadvantaged children and benefit 1.26 million families.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Indigenous Australians Linda Burney:

“Early learning, from birth all the way to school age, is one of the most powerful tools to Close the Gap for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

“Access to high quality early education and care from the beginning of a child’s life can improve readiness for school and lead to better outcomes for a lifetime.

“Connected Beginnings, as a community-owned and led initiative, is making a tangible difference in closing the gap in early childhood education outcomes, and I’m pleased this expansion to more sites will see it go even further.

“A total of 50 Connected Beginnings sites will be established by 2025, benefitting an estimated 20 per cent of all First Nations children – which is an incredible impact.”

Quotes attributable to SNAICC Chief Executive Catherine Liddle:

“Aboriginal community-controlled services are best placed to ensure our children have the opportunities they need to thrive and transition our children into formal schooling as ready and confident learners.

“Connected Beginnings recognises the trust and collective expertise ACCOs have in their communities, and strengthens and supports those services so we can Close the Gap for children and families.”