Childcare Workers Warn Coag: Don't Let Us Down

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7th December 2009, 09:10am - Views: 967
Childcare Workers Warn COAG -
Don't Let Us Down

The Council of Australian Governments is expected to announce Australia's first national quality standards for childcare when it meets in Brisbane today.

Sue Lines, Assistant National Secretary of LHMU, the childcare union, says "If COAG gets it right today we'll be able to turn this sector around, with high-quality service for families and decent jobs for childcare professionals.

"Let's hope that's what happens today because if COAG fails to reach consensus on building a genuinely quality childcare system we could see the ultimate collapse of the sector.

"Childcare professionals are bearing the brunt of Australia's well-documented childcare crisis, battling to meet children's early education and care needs in the face of chronic staff shortages, unrealistic workloads and grossly inadequate pay.

"Many are at breaking point, hanging on to see what COAG comes up with.

"Evidence shows every dollar spent on early childhood education and care saves $17 later in life. "A better quality start for children is what every parent wants. The cost of quality reform is negligible considering what is at stake.

"For the sake of families and workers in this sector, we urge all the Governments at COAG to finally commit to bringing our childcare system into the 21st Century," says Sue Lines.

How COAG can create a quality childcare sector:

* Improve ratios - LHMU members say the Governments' Option 4 is best
(although it could be better). Option 4 provides for:

1:4 for 0-2 years by 2010 and 1:3 by 2020
1:5 for 2-3 years by 2015
1:10 for 3-5 years by 2013

In states/territories that already have better ratios than are proposed for some age groups, existing best ratios should be kept.

* Improve wages to professional levels

* Help increase qualifications in the sector - this has been shown to
improve the quality of education and care. All staff should be supported
to get a Certificate III and by 2013 at least 50% of staff should be
helped to have a Diploma.

* Recognise prior learning for current early childhood educators

* Provide appropriate non-contact time - to plan and deliver a high quality
program and support the new national curriculum

* Introduce a streamlined and effective accreditation and licensing regime

Contact: Nada Vlatko 0425 242 691


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