APN NewsdeskAUSTRALIA must do more to ensure children are healthy, starting with improving early childhood education, the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth has urged.
ARACY today released The Nest, a national plan to improve child wellbeing in Canberra, centred on improving the physical and mental health of children.
Chief executive Lance Emerson said Australia was currently "middle of the road at best for child wellbeing" compared to other leading nations.
"That is why we are calling for bold reform. Targets detailed in The Nest are for Australia to be in the top five OECD countries for education performance, physical wellbeing, social and emotional wellbeing," he said.
Dr Emerson said reducing children's "vulnerability' from 22% to 15% would help the economy by providing an extra 7.35% in gross domestic product over the next 60 years.
The report called for action on six key policy areas, including early childhood education, improving the educational performance of young Australians and addressing income-related disadvantage.
It comes a day after the Abbott Government announced a new Productivity Commission inquiry into the childcare sector.
The inquiry will look at the early childhood education system, childcare, and the government's own paid parental leave scheme.
Mr Abbott said in parliament on Monday his government would "do a much better job than the previous government did on childcare system".
Childcare union United Voice also backed the inquiry, with national secretary Louise Tarrant saying the inquiry was "long overdue".
She said the inquiry was a "real chance" for the government to address a crisis in the childcare industry, hoping it would help improve the quality of early childhood education.