United Voice, the early childhood union, demands that the government take immediate action on the recommendations released in today’s report ‘Lifting our Game’ commissioned by state and territory governments and increase funding for the sector.
The report highlights the complexity and vital importance of early childhood education and care (ECEC) work. The workers at the frontline of these crucial early years, our early childhood educators, demand the government take heed of today’s report and commit to funding equal pay. This highly skilled workforce can no longer earn half the average wage, around $21 an hour.
Helen Gibbons, Assistant National Secretary, United Voice, the early childhood union says, “The report, the Gonski of early education, is further validation of the value of educators to our society. The report clearly links quality and the workforce together. That is why the federal government must stop letting educators down and deliver a commitment to fund professional pay.
“We call on the government to urgently address the recommendation of the report for investment in early education to at least reach OECD average. Australia underinvests in ECEC. We need to increase funding to ensure a world-class ECEC system for our children and also to fund professional pay levels for educators. Valuing every child means valuing every educator.
“The work of educators can no longer be economically and socially undervalued because of the historical association with unpaid ‘women’s work’. We all know that Australia cannot have a quality early education and care system without professional educators – and those educators need professional pay. Currently they are faced with the unacceptable situation of being a qualified, professional workforce yet only earn half the average wage. The report points to the impact of remuneration and conditions on workforce stability and retention and recognises the complexity and skills required of our educators. It also calls for a new workforce strategy for this growing and important workforce. United Voice strongly supports this recommendation.
“When COAG meets again next week, demands must be put to the federal government to lift funding for ECEC and to fund professional wages for Australia’s ECEC sector as a priority.”