Qualified early childhood and child care professionals will soon receive increased pay from $3 per hour courtesy of the Labor Government following today’s passage of the Early Years Quality Fund Special Account Bill 2013 in the Senate.
Early Childhood and Child Care Minister Kate Ellis said the Early Years Quality Fund was a massive step towards professionalising the child care workforce and ensuring the nation rightly valued the vital role they play in a child’s development.
"This is an initiative only a Labor Government will deliver,” Ms Ellis said.
"We’re the only party that prioritises child care for modern families. We’ve seen that through a $25 billion investment in greater affordability, flexibility and availability of child care.
"I want to pay tribute to my friend and former ministerial colleague Peter Garrett who was instrumental in establishing this fund and introducing its legislation.
"We know there are already many early childhood educators earning above award rates through their centre’s current enterprise agreements.
"While, of course, the Government supports more providers valuing and rewarding their staff at above award rates, we also have a key priority in that we want to make sure that child care remains affordable.
"The Government has established the Early Years Quality Fund with $300 million to support more long day care services to improve the wages of their early childhood educators.”
Ms Ellis said the Government would now move swiftly to put in place the measures that will ensure the funding is administered efficiently.
"The Early Years Quality Fund Advisory Board is considering the program guidelines and the application and assessment processes for the fund,” she said.
"Program Guidelines are expected to be released and applications will open in July.”
Ms Ellis said the fund would greatly support the landmark reforms the Government was implementing towards the quality of the child care sector.
"With this fund, our Government is setting the path towards a quality early childhood sector—one that recognises early childhood educators as the professionals that they are and values the work they do across Australia each and every day,” she said.