The Morrison Government has once again shown it has no vision for Australia’s early education sector and its workforce.
This Government has, once again, failed to address the wages crisis in early childhood education and care. They have continued to deliver uncertainty for this overwhelmingly feminised workforce with no policy and funding vision.
Early childhood educators earn as little as $22 an hour. For years educators have been calling on the Federal Government to deliver educators the professional wages they deserve. Yesterday’s budget is yet another demonstration that this Government does not care about early childhood educators or Australia’s youngest citizens.
Helen Gibbons, Assistant National Secretary of United Voice, the early childhood union says, “This is another lost opportunity to show vision and commitment to the early childhood and education sector. This Budget is a massive disappointment for Australian families and their young children in early childhood education and care. There is more new money for car parks than early learning in this Budget.
“This Government has only included a very short 12 months of funding for preschools for four-year-olds. This is the fifth short-term extension of preschool funding in seven years. They aren’t even considering extending access to early learning for three-year-olds. It is business as usual for this Government. They are offering no certainty to Australian families and have no vision for Australia’s early learning sector, let alone interest or concern for the educators that deliver it. Australia is a wealthy country, we can and should have a world-class, high-quality early learning sector delivered by professionally paid and qualified educators. Everybody but this Government knows that it is time for an Australia that values every educator and the education of every child.
“United Voice had recommended that the 2019-2020 Federal Budget increase early learning funding in line with OECD best practice and dedicate government funding to professional pay for skilled educators.
“Early childhood educators have been ignored long enough. We now have no option but to step up our campaign for professional wages. Between now and election day more than 100,000 early childhood educators will be talking to over one million Australian parents about their vision for world class early learning and which parties will deliver it.”
Jade Child, early childhood educator from Western Sydney says, “Educators are sick of living under a Government that undervalues the work of skilled early childhood educators, a Government that invests more new money in car parks for train stations than early childhood education. Without a commitment to fund professional pay for this vital work, any upcoming election promises of support for families and early education are hollow and meaningless. Early learning is the first big step in a child’s education and governments around the world have taken note and are investing early– this Budget was this Government’s opportunity to do the same but clearly early learning and early childhood educators are not their priority.
“Professional pay means educators, like us, can develop close, ongoing and engaging relationships with children ensuring the highest quality learning environment. Parents know that valuing children means valuing educators, but this Government just doesn’t get it.”