On October 12 there was an historic meeting of unions, employers, educators and peak bodies from across the early education sector co-ordinated by Early Childhood Australia (ECA) and the United Workers Union.
Representatives from every part of the early childhood education sector unanimously issued the following statement:
This meeting unanimously agreed that we are facing an enormous workforce crisis that needs urgent action. Early childhood education and care has been undervalued and low wages are a major contributor to the current workforce crisis – it is long past time for action.
The meeting also noted that the ambitious agenda of the new federal government in early education was dependent on stabilising the enormous workforce turnover and addressing the chronic shortages nationwide in time for the sector to implement proposed reforms to the Child Care Subsidy taking effect next July because it will create extra demand for places from working parents.
After robust discussions, we committed to work together to develop sustainable solutions that respect and value early educators and drive up their wages. The sector has heard the call from government to collaborate. We discussed the government’s proposal to open up multi-employer bargaining and their clear indication that this style of bargaining may provide a pathway for early education to lift wages. Other alternatives were also canvassed and the diverse needs and circumstances of all care types considered.
We have committed to meet again in four weeks to explore options including multi-employer bargaining and plot out timelines and processes. It is essential that this meeting includes the primary funder of early education, the federal government, and we look forward to engaging with them.
Quotes attributable to Tamika, early childhood educator
“The Summit brought together leaders in our sector from all across the country all having the important conversation about our profession and the value of educators.
“Everyone was on the same page which made us really hopeful and optimistic. We are looking at exciting new and different ways to achieve the sector that all children and educators deserve.
“It really feels like there is momentum and this is an opportunity which I’ve never seen before. Everyone who was in the room agreed to meet again in four weeks’ time, and it was great to see everyone in the same room working together for a better sector.”
Participating organisations included:
- United Workers Union
- Early Childhood Australia
- SNAICC – Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care
- Goodstart Early Learning
- G8 Education
- PCYC QLD
- Child Australia
- KU Children’s Services
- Independent Education Union
- Australian Education Union
- Early Learning Association Australia (ELAA)
- Community Connections Solutions Australia (CCSA)
- Family Day Care Australia (FDC)
- Community Early Learning Australia (CELA)
- Community Child Care Association (CCCS)
- National Outside School Hours Services Alliance (NOSHSA)
UWU Media Contact: 1300 898 633, [email protected]
ECA Media Contact: Reshma Jayesh, 0475 554 999, [email protected]