Open letter to Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition
Early childhood employers and peak bodies have joined forces to write to Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott asking for their leadership and commitment on a matter of national importance, quality early childhood edfucation and care.
They have warned the political leaders that prices will rise and the quality of services suffer unless more government funding is made available to boost the wages of child-care workers.
The signatories represent the vast majority of employers in Australia's ECEC sector, including peak bodies Early Childhood Australia, Australian Community Children’s Services (ACCS), Community Child Care Association (VIC) and Community Child Care Co-operative Ltd (NSW) and Australia's largest provider of ECEC Goodstart Early Learning.
This is their letter:
To: The Hon. Kevin Rudd, MP Prime Minister of Australia
The Hon. Tony Abbott, MP Leader of the Opposition
Dear Mr Rudd and Mr Abbott
We are the providers and peak bodies of early learning in Australia, and together we represent the majority of the sector.
Australia’s children need your leadership and commitment to the highest quality of early education and care.
As early learning providers and peak bodies, we want children to have the best opportunity to fulfil their potential. We have embraced the Government's National Quality Framework, which introduced lower child to educator ratios, higher qualifications of staff, a national learning framework and consistent ratings of services.
We are building a sector which delivers good educational outcomes for children.
However, we cannot deliver better outcomes without a professional, stable workforce. The young children of our country need you to finish the job.
The low wages of early childhood educators impede our ability to provide children with the high quality education and care they need.
The wage of a Certificate III educator is $19.07/ hour, similar to the wage of a fast food worker and well below wages of workers with comparable qualifications in other sectors. It does not reflect the high level of responsibility, training and expertise of educators.
Low wages create skills shortages and high turnover of staff. Passionate educators are leaving the sector, at a rate of 180 a week, because they cannot afford to stay. This continued disruption does not create the continuity of care children need to thrive and learn.
There are already one million Australian children in early learning services. They deserve better.
Research indicates that children who start ahead tend to stay ahead. Eighty percent of a child's brain development occurs before the age of three; the early years provide the foundation for the rest of a child's life. As political leaders, you have the opportunity to make a difference by committing to properly fund this vital sector.
The Early Years Quality Fund is a first step, injecting $300 million to lift the wages of thousands of long day care educators for two years. It ends in 2015 and only reaches a minority of educators. It needs to go further.
We are working with United Voice, the union of early childhood education and care, to create a framework to ensure professional wages for educators and quality outcomes for children. United Voice has lodged an application for equal pay with the Fair Work Commission with the goal of winning a decision for professional rates of pay.
Without a commitment from the Federal Government, parents - the people least able to bear this burden - will have to pay the increased costs of professional wages once the decision is handed down.
We ask you to:
acknowledge that the Government has a role to play in ensuring parents will not pay more.
commit to supporting and funding professional wages for early childhood educators.
outline your plan to fund professional wages for all educators across the sector.
As we head to the polls on September 7, we ask you to show Australian families your party's commitment to quality early learning so that we can continue to build the world class early childhood education system our children deserve.
- The Providers and Peak Bodies of Early Learning in Australia:
- Australian Community Children’s Services (ACCS)
- Community Child Care Association (VIC)
- Community Child Care Co-operative Ltd (NSW)
- Early Childhood Australia
- Abacus (TAS)
- Aberfoyle Hub Community Children's Centre Inc (SA)
- Adamstown Childcare centre (NSW)
- Adelaide University Childcare Services Inc (SA )
- Atherton Children’s Centre (QLD)
- Baringa Child Care Centre (ACT)
- Blackwood Community Children's Centre (SA )
- Boundary Lane Children's Centre
- Bruce Ridge Early Childhood Centre and Preschool (ACT)
- Burns Bay Cottage (NSW)
- Burrum Kids-R-Us (QLD)
- Cairns & District Child Care Development Association, Inc. (QLD)
- Cairns Central Childcare (QLD)
- Cairns TAFE Community Child Care Centre (QLD)
- Cambridge Road Child Care Centre (TAS)
- Camden Park Child Care Centre (SA )
- Care Bears Cottage (TAS)
- Casuarina Childcare Centre (NT)
- Child’s World Early Learning Centres (QLD)
- Children @ Bay Terrace (Wynnum, QLD)
- Children’s Hospital Child Care Centre (WA)
- Children’s Haven (NSW)
- Children's Services Community Management (NSW)
- Chinese-Australian Early Childhood Centre (ACT)
- Citiplace Child Care Centre (WA)
- Clovelly Childcare Centre (NSW)
- Collegiate Early Learning (TAS)
- Conyngham Street Community Children's Centre (SA )
- Cottesloe Child Care Centre (WA)
- Cuddle Bugs Kindergarten and Pre Prep (Bundaberg, Qld)
- Cygnet Community Children's Centre (TAS)
- Debbie’s Little Buddies (TAS)
- Duncraig Early Learning Centre (WA)
- Eager Bees ELC (QLD)
- Early Steps Child Care Centre (SA )
- ECMS (VIC)
- Edgeworth Childcare Centre (NSW)
- Elfin House Community Childcare Inc (Rockhampton, QLD)
- Emu Community Children's Centre Inc (SA )
- Feng Longden (QLD)
- Footprints Educational Complex (TAS)
- Friendship Square Child Care Centre (VIC)
- Garfield Childcare Centre (NSW)
- Glendale Early Education Centre (NSW)
- Goodstart Early Learning
- Gordon Square Early Learning Centre (TAS)
- Green Gables Kindergarden (NSW)
- Guardian Early Learning Group
- Gumnut Long Day Care Centre (TAS)
- Hallett Cove Community Children's Centre Inc (SA )
- Happy Rompers (NSW)
- Heritage Early Childhood Centre (ACT)
- Hillbank Community Children's Centre (SA )
- Ingham Early Learning Centre (QLD)
- Jellybeans Child Care (WA)
- John Street Community Early Childhood Co-operative (VIC)
- Kate’s Place Early Education and Child Care Centres (QLD)
- Kesters Road Child Care Centre Inc (SA )
- Kidsgrove Childcare Centre (NSW)
- Kids-R-Us Southside (QLD)
- Kindimindi Childcare (NSW)
- Kingston Beach Educational Care (TAS)
- Kirinari Early Childhood Centre (ACT)
- Knight Childcare Management (QLD)
- Lady Gowrie Tasmania (TAS)
- Lefroy Road Child Care Centre (WA)
- Lipscombe Child Care Centre (TAS)
- Little Academy (Strathfield, NSW)
- Little Bee Early Years (TAS)
- Love and Cuddle Preschool (NSW)
- Lurra Community Children's Centre Inc (SA )
- MacKinnon Parade Children's Centre Inc (SA )
- Maranatha School of Early Learning Childcare (WA)
- Mareeba Child Care and Kindergarten, Dunlop Street (QLD)
- Mareeba Child Care and Kindergarten, Constance Street (QLD)
- Marjorie Mann Lawley Day Care Centre (WA)
- Meadow Springs Child Care Centre (WA)
- Meela Child Care Centre (WA)
- Merri Community Child Care Centre (VIC)
- Miami Community Childcare Centre (QLD)
- Miracles on Russell (NSW)
- Modbury Community Children's Centre Inc (SA )
- Montessori by the Bay (NSW)
- Mount Hutton Child Care Centre (NSW)
- Mama Bear and Barfa Bear Childcare Centres (NSW)
- Mundarda Child Care Centre (WA)
- Museum Street Child Care (WA)
- Nelson Bay Pre-School (NSW)
- Nicholls Early Childhood Centre (ACT)
- Noah’s Ark Kindergarten and Day Care Centre (Qld)
- Noarlunga Community Children's Centres Inc (SA )
- Norfolk Childcare Centre (NSW)
- North Belconnen Community Association (ACT)
- Northside Community Service (ACT)
- Oakdowns Early Learning Centre (TAS)
- Oasis Community Children's Centre (SA )
- Ocean View College Children's Centre (SA )
- Pobblebonks Early Learning Centre (TAS)
- Pooraka Community Child Care Centre (SA )
- Precious Cargo Education Pty Ltd (SA )
- Prospect Community Child Care Centre (SA )
- Rah Community Child Care Centre Inc (SA )
- Rainbow Cottage (ACT)
- Randwick Open Care For Kids (R.O.C.K) (NSW)
- Richmond Crèche and Kindergarten (VIC)
- Richmond Multicultural Children’s Centre (VIC)
- Riverlinks Child Care Centre (WA)
- Robina Groves (QLD)
- Rockingham Early Learning and Child Care Centre (WA)
- Rosny CCC (TAS)
- Rowville Lakes Early Learning Centre (VIC)
- Sandy Bay Child Care Centre (TAS)
- Shirley Robertson Children’s Centre (VIC)
- Six Hats Early Childhood Service (NSW)
- South Lake Child Care Centre (WA)
- Spence Cottage (ACT)
- St Morris Community Child Care Centre (SA )
- Stonnington Children's Centre (VIC)
- Strathalbyn Children's Centre (SA )
- Sturt Street Community Child Care Centre (SA )
- Sudbury Community House Child Care Centre (WA)
- Surrey Downs Community Children's Centre Inc (SA )
- Swinburne Children’s Centres (VIC)
- The Children’s Garden (WA)
- The Forest Childcare centre (NSW)
- The Tree House (NSW)
- Topsy Turvy Child Care Centre (SA )
- Treasure Island Child Care Centre (WA)
- Uniting Care Tasmania (Scots CCC) (TAS)
- Victor Harbor Child Care Centre (SA )
- Warners Bay Early Learning Centre (NSW)
- Willeton Child Care Centre (WA)
- Wirrabirra Child Care Centre (WA)
- Woden Early Childhood Centre