Early education advocates are urging the Morrison government to prioritise childcare funding in its forthcoming budget.
Thrive by Five argues that doing so will set families and the economy up to emerge from the pandemic in better shape.
Group chief executive and former South Australian premier Jay Weatherill says every $1 million spent on child care creates 9.2 jobs compared with construction, where the same funding creates about one job.
"Early learning is a smart investment as every $1 of federal government funding returns about $2.16 in increased workplace participation benefits, while giving Australian children the best start in life," he said.
"Now is the time for bipartisan support for a key economic reform that will drive workforce participation, productivity, GDP and government revenue."
Thrive by Five advocates for a high-quality and universally accessible early learning system.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is set to reveal the federal budget on October 6, which will include a whopping deficit for 2020/21 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Families and childcare centres in Victoria have been given an extra helping hand to cope with its second-wave lockdown, including a fee freeze until January 31 next year.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has defended the measure being solely for Victoria, saying other states have to keep moving forward.
"We always said that our supports would be temporary, targeted and proportionate and we can't stay stuck in the same gear when it comes to our response to the COVID-19 recession," he told reporters on Tuesday.
"We've got to keep leaning into the next step to see our economy strengthen and not have it held back by keeping support measures in place for too long,"
Thrive by Five wants the federal government to ensure:
* All families get assistance for at least 30 per cent of childcare costs, with the ultimate goal of universal access to early learning for all children
* Childcare subsidies are increased for those who have had their income reduced due to coronavirus
* JobTrainer is expanded to include free or low cost early childhood education and care TAFE and VET courses
* The prime minister convenes a national roundtable on the early childhood education workforce.
Former Morrison government minister Julie Bishop recently joined Thrive by Five's efforts, signing an open letter to her previous colleagues calling for improvements to the childcare sector for the benefit of both children and parents.