Minderoo Foundation’s Thrive by Five initiative aims to ensure all Australian children have the best start to life by investing in and advocating for effective early childhood development outcomes.
Together with national partners, including community leaders, governments, research institutions and service delivery partners, Thrive by Five works to provide evidence to improve national policies, service delivery and community capacity to allow Australia to better meet the needs of children and families and communities, especially those experiencing adversity.
Minderoo Foundation Co-chair Nicola Forrest AO welcomed Mr Weatherill to the Minderoo Foundation team.
“Jay has a proven track record in people-centred leadership and has demonstrated a genuine passion to make a difference,” Mrs Forrest said.
“We are absolutely delighted to appoint a leader with such outstanding credentials. Jay’s political insight, sincere interest in early childhood development and extensive experience will be an asset to our organisation and the communities we serve.
“I look forward to Jay continuing our collaborative work with partners to ensure every Australian child gets the best possible start in life.”
Mr Weatherill served as the 45th Premier of South Australia, leading a Labor state government from October 2011 to March 2018. He has led successful national public policy debates and was previously responsible for the South Australian government’s Early Childhood Development portfolio.
Mr Weatherill said it was time for a national conversation about the importance of evidence-based investment in our kids’ futures.
“Far too many Australian kids are still slipping through the cracks,” Mr Weatherill said.
“As a nation, we must prioritise the wellbeing and development of these children for the benefit of the child, their family and the future of our country.
“While governments must show leadership, communities hold a central role in leading this conversation.
“I have always strived to involve citizens in the decisions that affect their lives and I can’t think of a more dynamic and ambitious organisation than Minderoo Foundation in championing this cause. I am thrilled to join the Minderoo Foundation team and look forward to leading such critical work.”
Mr Weatherill attained degrees in law and economics before establishing his own law firm in 1995 and practising until he was elected as the Member for Cheltenham in 2002.
Jay and his wife Melissa have two daughters, Lucinda and Alice. The family will relocate to Perth for the role, commencing in January and reporting to Minderoo Foundation Chief Executive Officer Andrew Hagger.
Mr Weatherill replaces outgoing Thrive by Five Chief Executive Steve Clifford, who will return to the east coast. Mrs Forrest thanked Mr Clifford on behalf of the Minderoo Foundation for his hard work and steady counsel over the past six months.