What Closing the Gap report means for early childhood

The Australian Government has released the Commonwealth Closing the Gap 2023 annual report and 2024 implementation plan.

The report:

  • assesses progress against Closing the Gap targets over the last year
  • outlines strategic priorities to improve Closing the Gap targets over the next year.

Closing the Gap targets 3 and 4 aim to ensure children:

  • engage in high quality, culturally appropriate early childhood education
  • thrive in their early years.

Key achievements from 2023 included:

  • strengthened engagement with SNAICC through the Early Childhood Care and Development Policy Partnership
  • changes to the activity test for First Nations families.

Key actions that we’re focusing on in 2024 include:

  • developing a formal partnership agreement between the Commonwealth and SNAICC
  • continuing the work of the Early Childhood Care and Development Policy Partnership
  • expanding Connected Beginnings to 50 sites by 2024–25
  • finalising the Early Years Strategy in early 2024
  • developing the Preschool Outcomes Measure for trial in 2025
  • driving improved participation in preschool in the year before full-time schooling.

The report also recognises Connected Beginnings as a case study of progress against Priority Reform 4.

Connected Beginnings is a grants program that helps Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children get the best start to life. The program supports self-determination through community level Data Dashboards. The dashboards give communities access to accurate, current and meaningful data about children’s and families’ health and early childhood services.

Read the Commonwealth Closing the Gap 2023 annual report and 2024 implementation plan.

See how we’re working to close the gap in early childhood education and care