Childcare fund, pay rises, scrapped

Updated: 19:28, Tuesday December 10, 2013

Childcare fund, pay rises, scrapped

The childcare workers union has warned low paid carers will walk away from the sector after the federal government scrapped a Labor scheme to increase their pay.

Assistant Minister for Education Sussan Ley describes the $300 million Early Years Quality Fund, set up by the former Labor government, as a ‘slush fund’ aimed at boosting union membership.

She’s now announced it will be replaced with a new program to support professional development in the sector that will use the uncommitted funds.

‘This was never about early years, this was never about quality, this was never about educators, this was never about the children,’ Ms Ley told parliament on Tuesday.

‘This was only ever about the union.’

While the government said it would honour pay rises agreed to under the fund by 16 service providers, Ms Ley called on them to ‘do the right thing’ and join the professional development program instead.

United Voice President Michael Crosby described Ms Ley’s slush fund claim as ‘ideologically driven rubbish’ and warned it would be parents and workers who will suffer.

The union had lobbied the former Labor government to set up the fund so any pay increase was borne by the community, and not parents, who ‘already pay way more than they should for childcare’.

‘What happens now is that wages stay at $19 an hour for a Cert III educator, and people will leave,’ he told AAP.

‘At the end of the year, when (workers) are really breaking their backs … this is the moment they’re thinking Am I going to go through with this year? Am I coming back?’.

‘And too many of them are going to say, No, it’s not worth it’.’

The Australian Child Care Alliance, representing more than two thirds of the long day child care sector, noted only 27 per cent of about 69,000 workers would have benefited from $3 to $5 hourly pay increase supported by the Labor fund.

‘At least there will be something for all of the rest of the educators in professional development,’ President Gwynn Bridge told AAP.

‘If $300 million was paid for less than 27 per cent of the sector, how many millions of taxpayers’ money would it take to continue that? It was never feasible.’

Labor’s early childhood spokeswoman Kate Ellis said the government had broken an election promise to honour existing pay rise agreements – involving the 16 providers – under the fund.

‘This government is not just breaking their election commitments, they are now asking child care providers to do it to them,’ she said.

Australian Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young said some childcare staff get paid less than the cleaners who clean the centres and called for increased funding to the sector.

‘This is a broken system and tit-for-tat political point scoring won’t help Australian mums and dads,’ she said in a statement.

About 95 per cent of childcare workers are women.


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Childcare fund, pay rises, scrapped
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カテゴリー: Childcare   パーマリンク


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