Abstract: One of Australia’s greatest challenges is the elimination of the gap between the developmental outcomes of Indigenous and non-Indigenous children in the early years of life. Not only is eliminating inequality a fundamental moral responsibility, child development is a determinant of health, wellbeing and learning skills across the balance of the life-course and therefore critical for our nation’s progress. A large body of research in developmental neuroscience and child development shows that ensuring all children have an equal chance to thrive and grow pays dividends through ‘a lifetime of productivity in the workplace and responsible citizenship in the community’ (NSCDC 2007). The ‘science of early childhood development’ or the social value return of investing in early childhood development has brought worldwide interest to this broad policy and program space (Knudsen et al. 2006). The aims of this paper are to: • outline what we know about the size of the gap in ECD between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, and the social determinants of ECD • establish why localised ECD is an effective means to close the gap in the early childhood years • describe the conditions under which localised ECD is more likely to be successful and how to put them into practice • describe 3 broad strategies to promote physical, social-emotional and language-cognitive domains of development and reduce developmental risk. To review and synthesise the broad and diverse knowledge relevant to localised ECD, several sources were consulted including peer-reviewed scientific literature, policy documents and reports from governments, international agencies and civil society groups.