South Australian children under the age of three will benefit from the work of a new Early Years Taskforce to be headed by former Federal Minister for Early Childhood, Hon Kate Ellis. Ms Ellis has been appointed by lead agency Raising Literacy Australia to work with South Australian government departments and non-government organisations (NGOs) who interact with families of young children to increase the efforts and effectiveness of supporting the development of children aged 0-3.

The Early Years Taskforce is funded through the Department for Education, South Australia Early Learning Strategy that was announced in June 2021.

Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) data between 2009 and 2018, shows that South Australian children are more likely to be vulnerable on all five of the measured developmental domains than the national average. It also shows that whilst other states are reducing numbers of vulnerable children, South Australia’s rate continues to increase.

“Kate Ellis is well-known for her passion about improving early childhood education and supporting our earliest learners,” said Minister Gardner. “Increased support for organisations like Raising Literacy Australia is an initiative in the Marshall Liberal Government’s $50.1 million Early Learning Strategy, announced in this year’s Budget.”

“I will work with any government, any agency and any organisation to unite in our efforts to give SA children the best start in life and the strongest foundations for future success,” said Ms Ellis.

“We cannot sit back and allow South Australian children to continue to fall behind children in the rest of the country before they have even started school”, Ms Ellis argues. “We know that 90% of a child’s brain development occurs by the time they are 5 years old. I’ve always believed that supporting children and their families during this time is one of the smartest investments that any community can make”, states Ms Ellis.

The Early Years Taskforce, its membership, strategy, and planned activity will be formally launched later this year.