After nearly two years, the Government has finally passed its Families Package. While the increased funding to the sector is welcomed, the Government has missed an important opportunity to address the chronically low wages in the sector.
Despite the vital importance of their work educating Australia’s children, many early childhood educators earn just $20 an hour. That’s half the average national wage.
Furthermore, one of the worst aspects of the Government’s package succeeded with Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, Nick Xenophon’s Xenophon Team and Senator Hinch all voting with the Government to cut many children’s access to early learning in half from two days to just one.
Helen Gibbons, Assistant National Secretary of United Voice, the early childhood union says “United Voice is disappointed the Government has missed the opportunity to address the low pay in this sector.
“As well as a complete failure to address educator wages, approximately 100,000 children whose parents are not in regular work will now have their access to early education and care reduced to just one day.
“This reform is a missed opportunity to deliver the accessible, high quality early education system that Australian children deserve.
“Families, educators and early childhood providers have yet again been let down by this Government.”
“Early years learning should be properly funded in its own right. Investment in this area is too important to tie to other budget measures.
“United Voice is now calling on the Government to show it values the work of early educators by committing to funding professional pay for educators in the upcoming budget.
“It seems the Government can find extra funds to cover tax cuts for big businesses, but will not prioritise high quality early education and care by funding professional wages for early childhood educators,” says Helen Gibbons.
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