Early Years Strategy Submission

In this submission, we provide seven recommendations to contribute to the Early Years Strategy consultation process. Our recommendations respond to questions outlined in the consultation brief.

  • First, we recommend a vision for the Strategy that enhances the delivery of and accountability to a child’s core developmental needs. This will provide the Strategy with an ambitious framing to drive the systems-level changes needed for an effective and resilient Early Years system.
  • Secondly, we encourage the Strategy to embrace universality of access to services in the Early Years to ensure the first five years of a child’s life are unequivocally supported. Universal access is critical to ensuring equity, and taking this approach would ensure the Strategy addresses the systemic inequity and inequality of access that can persist for many children in Australia.
  • Third, to review the access pathways across the Early Years system, helping to assess and improve how system actors can better respond to children’s needs. Our recommendation is founded on the idea of embracing the complexity of the Early Years system, while acknowledging this complexity makes pathways to timely access of services more challenging for multiple system actors.
  • Fourth, we recommend the Government reviews funding models to improve the funding mix for children and families. In support of this, we draw attention to our published analysis on the benefits of wise investment in the early years that lead to better outcomes for children.
  • Fifth, we encourage the formulation of appropriately funded comprehensive implementation and change management plans, identifying critical needs of key stakeholders, including service providers, families and children. This will set the Strategy up for success in its goal to support all actors and beneficiaries in the system.
  • Sixth, we advocate for a system stewardship approach to governance in the Early Years. System stewardship is a way to better coordinate accountability and achieve collaboration in public governance. We see the Strategy as an ideal foundation for the Government to set these key principles down.
  • Lastly, we respond to the presence of gaps in frameworks and evidence by recommending a focus on ensuring data linkage and accountability across the Early Years system. This is a significant opportunity to address systemic barriers in a complex system of service delivery, and we encourage the Government to set an agenda for more effective data transparency.