ECA members and advocacy
Early Childhood Australia members support ongoing advocacy for the best interests of young children with the vision: ‘every young child is thriving and learning’. At the national level, our members have enabled ECA to engage in advocacy to governments and parliaments at both Federal and State/Territory level. We have met with MPs and policy makers, written submissions and letters, engaged in mainstream media and sat on advisory/reference groups. Members are given the opportunity to provide input into submissions, respond to surveys and make their voices heard on issues that affect them and the children and families in their early learning communities. It can take several months or years and much persistence to make progress on important issues. Some of the key achievements that ECA and its members can be proud of in recent times include:
- The Alice Springs Mparntwe Education Declaration that replaces the Melbourne Declaration gives substantially more recognition of the importance of the early years and is more inclusive of early education; it also balances child wellbeing with education outcomes.
- We have supported a smooth transition to the Child Care Subsidy while consistently raising concerns about the impact of the Activity Test, the complexity of the means test and issues with access to Additional Child Care Subsidy.
- Our joint paper with SNAICC made policy and program recommendations to improve access to early education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and we understand that several of these recommendations are being considered.
- Our recent advocacy drawing attention to the impact of COVID-19 on children’s attendance and enrolment in early education precipitated the government relief package – while the package itself was problematic and not what ECA recommended, it was at least a response to the imminent crisis. We have made a submission more recently advocating changes to the relief package and suggestions for the pathway to recovery (you can read our submission here)
- A number of States and Territories have expanded preschool/kindergarten to two years for vulnerable population cohorts and invested in workforce development initiatives.
- The review of rural and remote schooling expanded its remit to include consideration of access to preschool/kindergarten.