United Workers Union members in early education welcome the election of the Albanese Labor Government, which recognised the importance of early learning for families and children at the heart of its election commitments.
UWU Director of Early Education, Helen Gibbons, said that union members share the vision for universal early education described by Anthony Albanese in his election night speech.
“Early educators in UWU have long had a vision for a world-class early education system in Australia – but that can only happen with complete reform of the sector,” said Ms Gibbons.
Quotes attributable to Helen Gibbons, Director Early Education, United Workers Union:
“The early learning sector has embraced the ALP’s new subsidy policy, but we cannot forget how much needs to change to make this possible.
“Since the election there have been numerous calls focusing on the subsidy as the key area of reform. The sector needs and deserves so much more than that.
“Early education needs 40,000 additional staff by 2023 to meet growing demand for services. But early education is still facing an ever-worsening staffing crisis due to unmanageable workloads, stress and low wages. 81% of centre directors say they have had difficulties in attracting and recruiting staff, with almost half of educators saying they would not recommend ECEC as a career.
“We know that all around the country, services are being forced to cap enrolments or close rooms because they simply cannot stem the tide of fed-up educators leaving the sector every day. Any rushed move which drives up the numbers of children seeking to access early learning, without a comprehensive strategy to reform the sector and address severe workforce issues, will only exacerbate the crisis.
“UWU members’ vision is for a sector where educators’ vital work is valued with professional wages and working conditions, and where early education is recognised and funded as part of the education sector. Over the years union members have been in conversation with the ALP through the Big Steps campaign about what needs to change, and have welcomed the support that so many Labor MPs have shown for their cause.
“Now, with a government that will listen to educators, the UWU looks forward to continuing that conversation and seeing real structural change. Government funding for early learning needs to be directed back into services for educators and children. Children and families deserve a truly high quality early learning system that is universally accessible to all children and families regardless of where they live or what kind of background they come from. This future is only possible with well-paid, professionally-supported educators who are respected for vital work that they do.”
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