The ASU welcomes the Gillard Government making a $300 million commitment to boost quality early childhood education and care and establishment of the Pay Equity Unit of the Fair Work Commission.
In welcoming the Government's announcement, ASU Assistant National Secretary, Greg McLean acknowledged, "This is an important step in the recognition of educators and all child care centre workers."
The ASU has been a long term campaigner for pay equity and recognition of Early Childhood Educators, pursuing negotiations and industrial cases.
Affordability, availability and quality of child care services are key to supporting working families. Australia Institute Research Fellow, David Baker has said today, "Since 2001, the proportion of Australian households reporting difficulties with the cost of childcare for a child under five has increased to more than three out of ten, making affordability an ongoing issue for households – and an election issue for politicians."
Quality Local Government Childcare services have successfully implemented the National Quality Framework (NQF). The Gillard Government funding – which will be tied to NQF measures – has been necessary to attract and retain qualified professionals, ensuring child care centres employ staff with higher education qualifications by 2014. The ASU calls on the Federal Government to act quickly to innovate measures that ensure grants go to improving income security for Early Childhood Educators like delivering a $3 per hour increase promised by 1 July, for Certificate III educators.
Government advice comes after a survey recently completed with ASU Early Childhood Educators that showed local government was considered the best provider and best place for educators to work, along with the quality of care and help to working parents. Local government child care centres are uniquely placed hubs that link parents to quality child care services in our communities.
The ASU will be seeking further discussions with the Government on the announcement.