The Australian Greens believe that:
1. Care for children is the responsibility of society as a whole. The quality of care received by babies and children produces flow-on effects for the whole of their lives and the community.
2. All families must be able to access free, high-quality early childhood education and childcare, including out of school hours care.
3. Early childhood education and childcare services must be equipped and resourced to meet the diverse needs of families including by being universally accessible, inclusive and culturally appropriate.
4. First Nations communities have the right to self-determine their early childhood education and care services for their local communities operated by First Nations organisations.
5. Positive, interactive learning, educational and socialisation opportunities offered by early childhood education can benefit children and the community by assisting a smooth transition to formal education.
6. The benefits of investment in early childhood education, in reducing poor school attendance and social disengagement in later years, vastly outweigh the cost of providing this service.
7. All carers of children should have the opportunity to re-enter or maintain their engagement in the workforce or study.
8. Early childhood education and care should be a not-for-profit service.
9. People working in the early childhood education and care sector should be highly valued and receive professional pay for the work that they do.
10. Families should have early childhood education and care within easy reach, including via public transport, of the home and workplace.
The Australian Greens want:
1. Universal access to free early childhood education and care.
2. Increased and targeted funding for the establishment and ongoing operation of not-for-profit early childhood education and care facilities, which are community-based or government-run, especially in areas of high unmet demand or growth and areas of high disadvantage.
3. The phasing out of private for-profit early childhood education and care operators, to be replaced by government and community non-profit operators.
4. Increased pay rates and improved working conditions for early childhood education and childcare workers reflecting the education, skill level, and importance of the work.
5. Greater assistance for a national planning system for childcare services, including a national demand model for childcare service planning.
6. Improved professional development opportunities and professional standards for childcare workers.
7. Increased funding for training and employment of First Nations people providing specialised cultural early childhood education and care services to their local communities.
8. Comprehensive and transparent reporting requirements across the early childhood education and care sector.
9. Increased financial assistance for childcare centre programs that offer flexible hours and occasional childcare in what has become an increasingly flexible workplace.
10. Free and improved access to the highest quality early childhood education and care services and wrap around supports for First Nations families.
11. Measures including appropriate training, guidelines, policies and procedures to ensure early childhood education and care services are inclusive of all children and their families across the breadth of family diversity.
(Early Childhood Education and Care Policy as amended by National Council May 2021)