On the eve of the federal budget United Voice the early childhood education and care union says fees and fee increases are important issues in childcare reform but the key to improving quality is addressing the low wages of childcare educators in Australia.
Responding to this morning’s statement by the Australian Child Care Alliance on the rising cost of childcare Sue Lines, Assistant National Secretary of United Voice says:
“Childcare operators must acknowledge that the essential plank missing in early childhood education and care is professional wages for staff.
“Staff turnover rates in childcare are at critical levels - 180 workers are leaving the sector every week.
“The National Quality Framework is all about providing the regulation and standards needed to ensure quality in every childcare centre in Australia. To make this a reality government investment in childcare must focus on addressing workforce problems and top of the list is improving pay and raising professional standards.
“In the lead up to the 2012 Budget it’s worth remembering that Australia’s investment in childcare lags comparable countries. Australia was ranked second-last amongst OECD countries on the rate of participation of children in childcare. That’s because on average OECD countries are investing 0.6% of their GDP in early childhood, while Australia spends 0.4%, a massive one third less.
“Australian families need affordable quality childcare for their children and the workforce to deliver it,” says Sue Lines.