WACOSS has called for more universal access to early education and care after reporting by the ABC today revealed Western Australia has the worst childcare accessibility of any state or territory with almost four children for every childcare place, compared to the national average of less than three.

WACOSS CEO Louise Giolitto said access to quality early education and care should not be based on where you live or whether or not you can afford it.

“Universal access to childcare should be a priority for all parties as we head into a Federal Election,” Ms Giolitto said.

“The evidence shows that WA has the most unequal access to child care with far fewer places available to children of families in disadvantaged areas.

“Quality early education and care is more than just child minding; the early years have the most significant impact on lifelong development and children who attend quality early learning are half as likely to start school with developmental vulnerabilities as those who don’t.

“We also know that a lack of access to affordable and accessible care keeps women out of the workforce, and reduces the productivity and resilience of our economy.

According to the Grattan Institute, every dollar spent on childcare generates a boost to GDP of at least $2 which means that boosting access to quality childcare is one of the most effective and equitable ways to stimulate economic productivity.

“At the end of the day it is clear that the current market-based approach is simply not working for WA families, especially for children in regional and disadvantaged areas. There has to be a policy change from the Federal Government that ensures every child can access early education and care services.”

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Tim Oliver – 0431 9696 25

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