Union seeks clarification about NSW Government commitment to 6 months of funding
The Independent Education Union NSW/ACT Branch (IEU NSW/ACT), representing early childhood teachers in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory has sought further clarity around a recent $51 million funding package announcement by the NSW Government, which was paired with an $82 million commitment to support 260 council-run childcare centres who are not eligible for JobKeeper payments.
While the Union has been ‘lobbying intensively’ for specific funding and security for teachers and staff in preschools and early childhood centres in the past few months, IEU NSW/ACT Branch Secretary Mark Northam said more detail was needed, adding that funding issues for preschools are “extremely complex”.
“The Union welcomes this announcement, which has the potential to maintain services and early childhood teachers’ jobs,” he said. “It appears to address our calls for government funding assistance at this time of COVID-19 crisis, but the union needs more detail.”
IEU Vice President of Early Childhood Services, Gabrielle Connell, elaborated saying “If this funding package is equitable, it is a good injection at this time when services are on the brink of closure and staff are unsure of ongoing employment.”
She outlined the complexity of funding in the space, noting that preschools are funded according to their Socio-economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) Band, with preschools in the lower bands receiving more money and therefore relying less on fees.
For other preschools, funding may only cover 40 to 50 per cent of their costs, meaning they will need “a much bigger injection of fees from the government” Ms Connell said, adding “it’s not a blanket funding matter. The devil is in the detail with this announcement and we need to see the detail.”
“The NSW government will need to be able to top up to 100 per cent of costs for all preschools. In some cases this could be a lot more money. If the government does this it will be a great relief not just for struggling families, but also for teachers and educators,” she continued.
Mr Northam said that it was important that the NSW Government provide more information, and that preschools should be applying for any relief community funding available as well as the JobKeeper program.
More information about the funding announcement may be found here.