National vision for early childhood education and care frequently asked questions

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What is the purpose of the national vision?

The national vision for ECEC is to outline a shared ambition for the sector in Australia. It will outline how Australian governments and the sector will work together to:

  • support parents’ workforce participation
  • support all young children’s education and development outcomes
  • grow a strong and sustainable workforce.

Who is leading the development of the vision? How is it being developed?

National Cabinet has asked education and early years ministers to develop a national, long-term vision to shape and drive reform of the ECEC sector. The vision is an opportunity for all stakeholders to commit to reform and collective investment in our youngest citizens and their families.

All Australian governments contributed to the development of the draft vision. Now the broader sector is being consulted.

What will governments and stakeholders do with the vision?

The vision will provide the direction for longer term reform at national, state and territory level. It will guide government and sector discussion and decision-making about the ECEC system. It will also help all parts of the system to work together to achieve the shared vision.

Which parts of the sector does the vision apply to?

The vision encompasses all ECEC settings, including preschool, Centre Based Day Care, Family Day Care, and Outside Schools Hours Care. The vision will guide educators, providers, peak bodies, philanthropic and community organisations, families and communities, regulatory bodies, universities and training providers, research bodies and think tanks.

What will be the benefits for children and families?

The benefits of investing in accessible and affordable ECEC for the first five years of a child’s life include:

Better outcomes for children in education, work, health and relationships, particularly for children experiencing vulnerability or disadvantage. This benefits the community, society and economy.

Support for parents and carers, particularly women, to fulfil their career aspirations through work or study. This can:

  • boost family budgets
  • grow women’s retirement savings
  • increase the talent and capacity of Australia’s workforce.

How does the vision relate to other government initiatives?

The vision will provide a broad strategic intent that will encompass all other activities in the sector. The activities listed below are underway and align to the principles articulated in the draft vision. Some of these activities are:

Australian Government

National activities (Commonwealth, state and territory governments)

State and territory governments

  • various initiatives and reforms, including two years of preschool and additional hours in the year before school.

What is stewardship and why are we discussing it?

Stewardship means governments take an active approach to ensure the ECEC system delivers outcomes for children and families in partnership with the sector.

Sector stewardship needs a long-term vision that outlines the purpose of the sector and how the parts of the sector work.

We also need collaboration and shared responsibility between ‘stewards.’ Stewards are the bodies responsible for steering the sector, like governments.

Some examples of where we already have stewardship are:

Quality standards

The National Quality Framework supports continuous improvement in the ECEC sector.

National agreements

The Preschool Reform Agreement supports participation in quality early learning.

Forums for coordination and cooperation

The Early Childhood Care and Development Policy Partnership. This enables First Nations peoples to work in genuine partnerships with governments and the Early Childhood Policy Group.

What are the benefits of the vision for the ECEC workforce?

The vision recognises that an ongoing, experienced, and well-qualified early childhood workforce is important for delivering high quality education and care that benefits children, families and society.

A key outcome of the vision is that the ECEC workforce is

  • highly skilled
  • valued
  • professionally recognised.

The vision will ensure that the sector is supported to attract and retain workers.

The vision will align with, and build on, the National Children’s Education and Care Workforce Strategy. It also supports other workforce initiatives by all governments and across the sector.

Why are we collecting feedback on the vision?

The vision is for everyone, not just government. We want to hear from everyone involved in ECEC so there is a shared ownership of the vision.

How can I take part?

Consultation activities, including an online survey and public submission portal, closed on 7 April 2023. 

Will my feedback be anonymous?

If you are completing the survey, we do not ask you to provide your name or contact information. We will use demographic information you provide in aggregate form only. We will not link your demographic information to your responses.

How will the broader sector be consulted?

We will use a range of approaches to make sure as many voices as possible can provide feedback on the draft vision. This will include the online survey and targeted discussions with the sector.

How will you ensure that feedback is inclusive?

We will run in-person consultations to explore the challenges and opportunities of the vision for:

  • First Nations families and children
  • families from remote or regional areas.

If you have difficulties accessing or completing the survey or public submission, contact

We can provide technical help and translation services.

How will my feedback be used?

We will collate feedback into a consultation report. This will inform the next stages of the draft vision. We will publish summary of the feedback.

When will the consultation period begin and end?

Consultation on the vision closed on 7 April 2023.

When will the final version of the vision be published?

National Cabinet will consider the vision in mid-2023.

Where can I find more information?

Visit National vision for early childhood education and care for further information.

What are the next steps?

Feedback will help shape the final vision. We will publish summary of the feedback. Once agreed by National Cabinet, the vision will provide long-term direction to achieve a quality, accessible, affordable, and equitable ECEC sector.

Who will be involved in implementing the vision?

Governments across Australia will work together to implement the vision with the sector.

When will the vision be implemented?

Once National Cabinet has agreed the national vision, planning for implementation will follow.

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