Government must increase early childhood worker wages immediately, say Greens

Australian Greens

NSW Greens Spokesperson for Early Childhood, Tamara Smith MP, has reacted to a shocking survey of early childhood workers suggesting that half of early childhood educators will leave the sector within the year unless meaningful action is taken to increase the pay of early childhood workers.

The Greens are backing the demands of the United Workers Union to address the pay and conditions of early childhood educators and have also backed Local Government NSW’s calls to end unpaid practicums for university students undertaking teaching degrees.

Ms Smith is calling on state and federal Labor governments to immediately commit to a pay increase for early childhood educators and to act to bring more preschools into public ownership.

Ms Smith said, “The federal Labor government’s refusal to commit to a pay increase has left early childhood educators at breaking point. Every parent of preschool aged children in every community should be very concerned to hear that under Labor’s watch half of early childhood workers plan to leave because they can’t afford to live on their pay packet.”

“The federal government is effectively overseeing a new gap in educational outcomes for preschool aged children as they stand back and watch a mass exodus.”

“The loss of half of the early childhood workforce would be a crisis, and it is entirely preventable by state and federal governments.”

Smith continued, “Last year, the Greens successfully worked with the NSW Teachers Federation to pressure the NSW government into giving teachers a pay rise to stave off the chronic teacher shortage. Surely Federal Labor in an election year can’t think this is going to win hearts and minds.”

“This survey also highlights the incredible workload that our early childhood educators are taking on, and it’s never been more important for the NSW government to make sure as many preschools are in public ownership as possible so that safer conditions can be negotiated.”

“As a former teacher, I am proud to stand in solidarity with our early childhood educators and their unions and I am very disappointed to see my Labor colleagues ignoring the evidence that early intervention in the preschool years is the most critical time in a child’s life.”

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