Wages key to boost­ing sec­tor

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WAGES for early child­hood ed­u­ca­tors are in­ad­e­quate for de­liv­er­ing re­forms in the sec­tor that aim to en­sure con­tin­ued high qual­ity of care for chil­dren, the work­ers’ union says.

United Voice says the Pro­duc­tiv­ity Com­mis­sion’s draft re­port recog­nises sys­temic is­sues in the sec­tor which can cre­ate ‘‘huge’’ prob­lems for chil­dren.

Big Steps in Child­care cam­paign di­rec­tor Alice Voight says pro­fes­sion­als chose to work in the sec­tor be­cause of their love for work­ing with chil­dren but low wages cre­ate an on­go­ing is­sue with staff leav­ing.

‘‘There needs to be higher wages for all pro­fes­sion­als in ECEC (Early Child­hood Ed­u­ca­tion and Care) who work so hard to ed­u­cate the next gen­er­a­tions of Aus­tralians at a cru­cial time in their de­vel­op­ment,’’ she says.

The Na­tional ECEC Work­force Cen­sus finds up to one quar­ter of full-time long day care pro­fes­sion­als earn less than $31,199 a year and only 40 per cent of long day care pro­fes­sion­als are sat­is­fied with their pay and con­di­tions.

Ms Voight says the next step must be de­ci­sive ac­tion by the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment to in­crease wages for ECEC pro­fes­sion­als to en­sure those tak­ing care of chil­dren can af­ford to keep do­ing the work they love.

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