Princess Margaret Hospital Centre Director Rae Young is today breathing a sigh of relief after Prime Minister Tony Abbott caved to community pressure and yesterday confirmed he would honour the Early Years Quality Fund contract, signed by the previous government.
“While I am very pleased, I am also disappointed that he didn’t make this decision a month ago,” she said.
“The girls at work are still anxious as there are still so many unanswered questions and an element of uncertainty. When is this going to come into effect? Will it be in time for Christmas?”
Rae said ultimately she was delighted with the win, but it also felt bittersweet that so many others would miss out.
“Hopefully this will inspire others to join Big Steps after seeing what such a small group of people have already achieved by working together to pressure two governments,” she said.
“This is really just the beginning. We’ve had a huge gain but there’s still a long way to go and this government is going to be a lot harder to convince. We need a really strong voice.”
Rae said she felt that the immediate effects would encourage more workers to stay in the industry.
“I think it will ‘stop the leak’ of people leaving the industry,” she said.
“Just to have that extra money each week, not to spend on luxury items, but routine things like being able to go out for dinner every once in a while will be nice.”
United Voice Assistant Secretary Kelly Shay said since the Abbott Government was elected there has been lots of uncertainty around the Early Years Quality Fund contracts.
“Since the election of this Government they have played politics with the careers of tens of thousands of Early Childhood Educators around the country. They have played politics with the children in their care, and the parents that trust them with the task.
“This is an important first step towards leaving the politics to one side, and fixing the crisis in Early Childhood Education and Care.
“It’s about time the Prime Minister Tony Abbott stepped up and recognised the important work of early childhood educators in Australia.”