Topic: National Early Years Summit
AMANDA RISHWORTH, MINISTER FOR SOCIAL SERVICES: It's great to be here with Minister Aly for our national Early Years Summit. The Early Years Summit is the beginning of the hard work of building a Commonwealth Early Years Strategy, an Early Years Strategy that will be a blueprint for the direction the Commonwealth will take when it comes to supporting little children and their families in this country. At the moment, we have programmes and policies that are doing a good job, but are often siloed, there are often gaps and what this Strategy is about is bringing this all together and really setting out a vision and then the steps of how we will get there to make sure that every child in this country, no matter where they come from, no matter what their postcode, actually gets to thrive. We've brought together some great thinkers and great people that have spent their whole careers working in the area of how to make children's lives better. Of course, we also want to make sure that families and children are at the centre of this. So, we do have family voices, children's voices and this is a really, really exciting day and part of the hard work of putting our Strategy together.
ANNE ALY, MINISTER FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION: Thank you so much, Minister Rishworth. Now this is the first time that a government has brought together experts, researchers, practitioners, across a range of areas in early childhood development. And this demonstrates the Albanese government’s commitment to ensuring that no child is left behind. That every child, no matter who they are, no matter what their background is, no matter who their parents are, no matter where they live, no matter what their postcode as Amanda said, has every possible chance to thrive. This is an amazing opportunity here, an amazing opportunity for us to set a trajectory for Australian children now and into the future. I am extremely grateful and actually quite honoured to be the presence of the 100 or so experts that we have in the room today. The level of knowledge, experience and the depth of wealth of knowledge and skill that they bring to today is just going to mean that we have before us a mighty task of developing this strategy, but also a strategy that is well informed with the range of people that we have here. And I'm very much looking forward to today.
JOURNALIST: What do you think are the biggest gaps?
AMANDA RISHWORTH: This the process that we're going through to consult with families and communities around the country. Parents say, for example, while there are a lot of services out there, they don't always know how to access them. They don't always know what door to go through or where to get help. So, for us, this is about really mapping this out. I don't want to prejudge some of the conversations we're going to have. Of course, this Summit is one of the key pillars, but we will be also holding roundtables around the country. But one of the things that really is coming through is we need to make sure that children are not relegated to the background, that they are brought out front and centre, and that's what this government has already done with our early childhood education policies and our cheaper childcare plan, with our paid parental leave. We're listening to families and mapping out where we can do better. But that's part of the work we'll continue to do.
JOURNALIST: Are we expecting outcomes to come out of today's Summit - how quickly could some of these be implemented [indistinct]?
AMANDA RISHWORTH: What this Summit is today is the beginning of our planning of our Strategy. We expect that we'll be able to deliver our strategy in October or around October. But what we want to do today is bring together a whole lot of ideas to start that work. But equally we want to make sure that no one is cut out of this process. So, there's an opportunity for organisations, for individuals to put in submissions. We'll also be holding roundtables around the country. On Monday, I'll be joining Minister Aly in Perth and we'll be holding a roundtable there. Because of course we know that things aren't equal across the country. We know that rural, regional areas in particular, there are worse outcomes for children that live there. We also know for First Nations children, for example, they have poorer outcomes on a whole range of measures. So, we need to be listening right across the country and that's what we'll be doing. Thank you.