Early childhood education and care (ECEC) plays a crucial role in shaping the future of children and society. Recognising the need for comprehensive reforms, the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia has made a submission to the Productivity Commission inquiry into ECEC.

ECEC plays an important social and economic role in Australia. Alongside growing evidence confirming the significant contribution high quality ECEC makes to healthy child development and lifelong outcomes, the system supports workforce participation for primary carers and is central to sustaining decent work for educators and teachers.

While acknowledging the progress made through previous reforms, the Academy’s submission highlights persistent challenges within the system. Access and provision remain unequal, demanding strategic long-term investment, planning, and service delivery. To address these issues, the Academy presented ten insightful recommendations for policy reform.

At the core of the proposed reforms is the recognition of children’s needs and rights as paramount in ECEC policymaking. Placing high-quality early learning at the heart of lifelong learning is vital for the overall well-being of individuals and society as a whole.

The sequencing of reforms is critical and the submission emphasises the wages and labour supply issues must be prioritised and urgently addressed.

The Academy’s submission envisions an affordable, accessible, equitable, and high quality system that prioritises the wellbeing and development of every child. By aligning reforms with the latest research and evidence, Australia can create an ECEC system that sets the foundation for a brighter future.

Read our submission here.