Release type: Media Release

Date:

Ensuring a high quality early childhood education workforce

Joint Media Release with The Hon Maxine McKew MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Early Childhood Education and Child Care

To deliver our early childhood commitments, the Rudd Government will invest$126.6 million over four years to train and retain a high quality early childhood education workforce.

The National Early Years Workforce Strategy will help build a highly skilled and capable workforce, which is critical to delivering the Education Revolution. All children will have access to an early learning program by 2013, delivered by a university qualified teacher, for 15 hours a week, 40 weeks a year in the year before formal schooling.

The package provides incentives to improve the qualifications of child care workers and supports more early childhood teachers, including in remote and disadvantaged areas.

It delivers on the Government’s election commitments including:

  • $60.3 million to support around 8000 child care workers to gain a qualification by removing TAFE fees for child care diplomas and advanced diplomas from 2009;
  • $53.9 million to create 500 additional university places for early childhood teachers, starting in 2009 and rising to 1500 places by 2011; and
  • $12.4 million to reduce by about half the HECS-HELP debt of early childhood teachers who work in regional and remote areas, Indigenous communities and areas of high disadvantage.

The additional university places will be for four-year undergraduate degree courses or postgraduate courses, allowing graduates with an existing degree to gain a recognised qualification in early childhood education.

Refunding HECS-HELP debts will provide a benefit of up to $1600 per year over five years for early childhood teachers who choose to work in regional and remote Australia, Indigenous communities and areas of high disadvantage from July 2008.

Early childhood teachers who are eligible for the benefit will apply through the taxation system at the end of each financial year, commencing 2008-09.