9 February 2023

Productivity Commission inquiry to consider universal early education system


Joint media release with

Jason Clare MP
Minister for Education

Anne Aly MP
Minister for Early Childhood Education 

The Australian Government is taking the next step in considering how to build an affordable, accessible, high quality, universal early education system.

Today the Government has announced that Professor Emerita Deborah Brennan AM will co‑lead a Productivity Commission inquiry into Australia’s early childhood education and care (ECEC) system.

A great early childhood education and care system pays a triple dividend – it sets children up for a great start in life, helps working families to get ahead, and builds our economic prosperity by supporting workforce participation.

The Government is committed to identifying solutions that will chart the course for universal, affordable early childhood education and care ‑ in the great tradition of universal Medicare and universal superannuation.

The inquiry will build on the delivery of the Government’s Plan for Cheaper Child Care which will cut the cost of early education and care for more than one million Australian families.

This is real cost of living relief.

The Government is today also releasing the Terms of Reference for the comprehensive inquiry which will explore affordability, access, workforce and benefits for children especially children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The Inquiry will be focused on delivering our two key goals – removing barriers to workforce participation for parents and providing a foundation for our children’s future wellbeing and success.

The full Terms of Reference will be available on the Productivity Commission’s website.

Professor Brennan is an Emeritus Professor at the Social Policy Research Centre, University of New South Wales and is an international expert on ECEC.

Professor Brennan will work with the other members of the Commission leading this Inquiry.

The inquiry will commence on 1 March 2023 and provide a final report to Government by 30 June 2024.

The Commission will undertake a broad consultation process as part of the inquiry and the Government encourages all interested parties to engage with the inquiry.

Professor Emerita Deborah Brennan AM

Professor Deborah Brennan BA Syd., MA Macq., PhD Syd., FASSA, is one of Australia’s leading researchers in comparative social policy, early childhood education and care and gender and politics.

Professor Brennan has held visiting positions at the London School of Economics, Oxford University, Trinity College Dublin and the University of Melbourne.

She has contributed to national and international debates in her field and has advised both the Australian and UK governments on the development of policies for families and children.