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Senate Committee’s report on families childcare package short-sighted, says union

Children's Services

United Voice, the early childhood union, says Australia’s young children and early childhood educators have been let down by the decision of the Senate Employment Legislation Committee to recommend the passing of the Government’s families childcare package.

The union’s comments follow the release this afternoon of the Committee’s report into the Family Assistance Legislation Amendment (Jobs for Families Child Care Package) Bill 2015 [Provisions].

Helen Gibbons, United Voice Assistant National Secretary, says “It is also very short-sighted of the Committee to ignore early childhood educators who are the heart of the sector.

“The Government and now the Committee have failed educators and children by not properly considering the implications for educators of their proposed changes and the challenges faced by the sector’s grossly underpaid and overwhelming female workforce.

“This bill should but does not include provisions for funding professional wages. This head in the sand approach will not make those challenges disappear.

“Committee members have also chosen to ignore the advice of numerous submissions which showed that many children will be worse off if this legislation is passed without amendment.

“Early childhood educators and advocates for young children had hoped that the Senators would heed the advice of experts that children will miss out on the benefits of quality early childhood education and care if the harsher activities testing provisions of the bill are introduced.

“Indigenous children and children of parents in casual employment will be especially hard hit by this. United Voice welcomes the Government’s proposal to inject more funding into the early childhood sector but not at the expense of those who can least afford it.

“If passed, this bill will inevitably lead to children missing out on early learning which is their right and with every passing year the numbers who miss out will increase.

“Quality early childhood education and care is every child’s right – regardless of their parents’ financial status – and the benefits to children are unquestionable, in the short term and lifelong.

“We urge crossbenchers to stand up for children and for families by opposing the harsh and unnecessary activities test provisions of this bill.

“United Voice’s message to crossbenchers is Please value every child and every educator and give serious consideration to the issues raised by United Voice and in the Committee’s dissenting reports,” says Helen Gibbons.

Contact: Nada Vlatko – 0425 242 691