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In support of public early childhood education in NSW

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Amanda Cohn
NSW Greens MP
30 October 2023

Early childhood education is critical for kids' wellbeing and development.  But the sector is in crisis.

The early childhood education and care sector has been neglected by employers and government at the expense of children, educators, and families. Multiple surveys and reports have called for drastic change - from the United Workers Union, the Australian Consumer Commission, the Women's Economic Equality Taskforce, to the industry regulator Australian Children's Education & Care Quality Authority, and even peak employer bodies like Early Childhood Australia, Australian Childcare Alliance, Community Early Learning Australia, and the Business Council of Australia. A majority of educators are planning on leaving the sector over the next three years, one in five long daycare centres in NSW are consistently operating under ratio, and there are insufficient graduates of Certificate, Diploma, and degree programs to replace those who leave the sector. 

Local government is the largest provider of early childhood education and care in the state with approximately 260 centres, and local government must be part of making these changes. This is what has motivated the United Services Union, on behalf of local government employees, to begin bargaining this year for a splinter award for early childhood educators based on the following log of claims.

Greens councillors at City of Sydney, Inner West, and Randwick responded by successfully passing the following motion with the support from Labor and independents to be discussed at the Local Government NSW conference on the 13th of November:

That Local Government NSW commits to supporting councils to recruit and retain early childhood educators by:

  1. Calling on the NSW State Government government to:
    • increase support for public early childhood education services, including extending the paid placement funding offered to ECT students to Diploma and Certificate III students, and;
    • support councils to expand high quality early childhood education and care through long daycare, out of hours care, pre-school, and occasional care.
  2. Bargaining with the United Services Union and its members in good faith to achieve an increase to wages for early childhood educators above inflation, as well as leave provisions and hazard pay that reflect the risk of infection associated with work in early childhood education.

We believe that early childhood educators deserve fair pay and conditions, and Greens delegates will be supporting this motion at the conference. The conference will be in Parramatta at the Racecourse across the 12th, 13th, and 14th of November.

We hope that fellow councillors will support educators in their fight for better pay and conditions, and by extension support local families to access quality public early childhood education and care.

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Amanda Cohn
NSW Greens MP
30 October 2023
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