Goodstart director named as 2020 QLD Delegate of the Year in Labour Day Awards
Goodstart Early Learning Director and Australian Labor Party candidate for the Queensland seat of Theodore, Tracey Bell, has been named as the winner of the 2020 Queensland Delegate of the Year in the annual Labour Day Awards.
Ms Bell was nominated by the United Workers Union, who said that she was a driven, passionate and determined educator who had “fought doggedly for respect and recognition for the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector that she works in and loves.”
Contention for the awards is open to any delegate from any type of union across Queensland, meaning Ms Bell’s recognition is not only of personal significance, but also a moment of recognition for the ECEC sector more broadly.
Under the Big Steps campaign, Ms Bell has been influential in supporting the campaign for equal pay for early educators, the Union said.
“Tracey has done everything you could think of in the campaign – lobbied politicians, held meetings, stood on the side of the road doing hi vis actions, and advocated in every forum she is part of,” Ms Bell’s nomination read.
A significant achievement noted by the Union was Ms Bell’s role in organising walk off the job rallies on the Gold Coast in 2017, 18 and 19, with the Union praising her for her passionate oration in support of her fellow educators and their fight for equal pay.
As a member organiser, Ms Bell has successfully recruited over 100 new members, both from within her own service, and also from others outside of Goodstart. She has also played an important role as a bargaining representative for her EBA with Goodstart, giving “a voice for not only the educators in her centres, but right across Australia,” the Union said.
More recently during the COVID-19 pandemic, Ms Bell has worked tirelessly to highlight the issue of hygiene and safety within early learning centres.
Her employer, Goodstart Early Learning was “a sector leader in this regard and worked closely with the union to ensure the best possible safety plans were shared with centre leaders across the nation”, a Goodstart spokesperson said.
Ms Bell shared some of her background in announcing her win, outlining that she has lived on Queensland’s Gold Coast for 23 years, raising two children as a single parent while studying and “working up to three jobs to make ends meet in hospitality and early education”.
She is currently employed as the Director of Goodstart Currumbin Waters, and has worked in the ECEC sector for 20 years, been a union member for nearly 25 years, and an ECEC leader on the Big Steps campaign for ten years.
All of her participation in Union and other campaigns, she continued, has been done because she was “tired of sitting on the sidelines and having to cop the injustice and inequity that was going on around me in all of my jobs”.
“I was tired of sitting in the staff rooms and listening to workers complaining about their pay and their conditions at work and very quickly realised that if I wanted to see change, then I had to be the change; and that one voice could very easily be heard when we all unite to create power in numbers and never take no for an answer,” Ms Bell said.