Central Great Southern communities to join historic Early Years Initiative
Media Statement from Hon Mark McGowan BA LLB MLA and Hon Simone McGurk BA (Arts) BA (Comms) MLA
- Central Great Southern shires to join Early Years Initiative
- Western Australian families to benefit from initiative
The Central Great Southern shires of Katanning, Broomehill-Tambellup, Kojonup and Gnowangerup are the first communities to join Western Australia's Early Years Initiative.
The initiative is an unprecedented 10-year partnership between the State Government, Minderoo Foundation and Telethon Kids Institute to improve the health, learning and development of children under four.
One in five children aged four years and under in WA is considered developmentally vulnerable as measured by the Australian Early Development Census.
The Early Years Initiative will work with four partner communities from metropolitan, regional, remote and very remote areas. The remaining three communities will be announced during 2019.
The Central Great Southern communities will combine to represent the regional partner community.
By focusing data collection and measurable outcomes in several distinct geographical areas, the Early Years Initiative will gather a strong evidence base to determine what works for Western Australian children.
The Central Great Southern was chosen by the Early Years Initiative Board due to its high population of children under four; research that shows a wide scope to improve early childhood outcomes; and extremely high community support for the initiative.
The Central Great Southern communities, located south-east of Perth, have a total population of almost 8,500 with more than seven per cent aged under four.
The region will now be supported to form a local decision-making body to help combine local insights with global best practice.
This support will enable the local community to assess the needs of children and families, and develop their own 10-year evidence-informed community plans to improve the health, learning and development of children.
The State Government and its partners, with the help of leading international researchers, will support participating communities to identify what works best to help their children to thrive.
All Western Australian families will benefit from the initiative as key learnings will inform future policy making.
Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:
"It's a sad fact that one in five children in WA are developmentally vulnerable. While early childhood development is complex, together, with initiatives like the Early Years, we can do more to help WA families.
"I thank these communities for their enthusiasm to be a part of this historic initiative.
"It's vital we listen to families across the State and learn about what will work for their community."
Comments attributed to Community Services Minister Simone McGurk:
"The evidence is clear that the experiences in a child's early years are the most critical to setting them on a path to a happy, healthy and productive life.
"This is an innovative model which gives the community a key role in determining the best way to support early childhood development in their own community combined with international best practice.
"It demonstrates a genuine commitment to change how we support families and improve the health and wellbeing of children through their early years."