"In Australia the super-rich can play by one set of rules, while working people must follow another," writes United Voice's Assistant National Secretary, Helen Gibbons, in a Women's Agenda feature article.
Alicia Smith, Educator who pays her fair share of tax
If there is one fact the Panama Papers ram home it’s that in Australia the super-rich can play by one set of rules, while working people must follow another.
Early childhood educator, Alicia Smith, is one of millions of Australians who pay their fair share of tax.
The 36 year-old Tasmanian loves being an educator to under-sixes. Like any professional job, there are non-negotiables in her career. You must have skills and qualifications, you must exercise judgment and responsibility, and you must work hard. You must also pay your tax.
There are no loopholes Alicia can use if she can’t pay what she owes the taxman. And, most months, what she earns as an early childhood educator is not enough to cover her everyday expenses. Even with a university degree, Alicia’s wages are so low she has to work two extra jobs, as a cleaner and as an usher, to make ends meet. For now, she is staying in the career she is passionate about, but many of her colleagues are leaving the sector.
Providing quality education for children in the early years is professional work. It is also the backbone for a resilient, thriving society. Yet in Australia the sector is chronically underfunded, with government funding significantly below the OECD average, and less than half the OECD recommended minimum of 1% of GDP.
We know that the quality of early education is intimately linked to the quality of the workforce. When the people who educate our children are paid properly, staff turnover drops, new workers are attracted to the sector, skills and experience levels rise. Every child benefits.
Yet the Federal Government persists in ignoring the need for early childhood educators to be paid professional wages.
Read the rest of the article on the Women's Agenda website.