The Albanese Labor Government is delivering on its commitment to develop an Early Years Strategy with public consultation now underway ahead of the major Early Years Summit to be held later this month.
A discussion paper has been released today with a call for public submissions on the direction of the Commonwealth’s Strategy.
More than 100 industry experts and sector leaders across a variety of fields, along with families and service providers who work with them, will attend the Summit on February 17 at Parliament House in Canberra to capture insights and aspirations for Australia’s children, and to inform the Strategy’s development.
The early years are a critical period, where children develop at a faster rate than at any other time in their lives. Australia needs a roadmap for young children and families and the Albanese Labor Government is committed to delivering this.
The Early Years Summit will help inform the Strategy and shape our vision for the future of Australia’s children and their families and to identify the role the Commonwealth can play in ensuring they have the best start in life.
Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth encouraged all Australians to have their say on the direction of the Strategy, which aims to break down silos and create an integrated, whole-of-Commonwealth approach to ensure children aged five and below – as well as their families and communities – have the tools and supports to thrive no matter where they are born or raised.
“We want to hear from a diverse range of voices in the community, including parents, families, carers and caregivers, educators, child and maternal healthcare providers, social workers, early years experts and anyone who wants to contribute to improving the lives of Australian children,” Minister Rishworth said.
“We want all Australians to have the opportunity to provide input to this Strategy and invite everyone to share their ideas and feedback.
“Getting it right in the early years’ means not only that children and their families are supported to thrive in these critical years of development but also that any investments we make now can have broader, sustained benefits for our society and economy across current and future generations.”
Minister for Early Childhood Education Dr Anne Aly said the Strategy is about making sure we optimise connections between health, education and family support services to ensure we have happy children that thrive throughout life.
“We know that 90 per cent of brain development happens in the first five years, which is why it’s so important we have a holistic approach to the early years,” Dr Aly said.
“Our children are our most precious resource, investing in them now is an investment in our future.
“All Australian’s are encouraged to have their say, ensuring a diverse range of views and experiences are reflected in the final Strategy.”
The public consultation and Summit is part of a suite of ways Australians can participate in crafting the Strategy. A survey is available throughout February on DSS Engage and there will also be a series of roundtables held nationally to help inform the Strategy and explore the issues that matter most to Australian children and their families.
Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth and Minister for Early Childhood Education and Minister for Youth Dr Anne Aly are jointly leading the development of the Strategy, in collaboration with other responsible Ministers across the Commonwealth.
To access the Discussion Paper to make a submission and for other opportunities to contribute to the Strategy development during the consultation process visit the Department of Social Services website.
Submissions are open until April 30, 2023.