Tas Labor candidate says ECEC sector needs reform due to staffing crisis and high costs

Tas Labor candidate says ECEC sector needs reform due to staffing crisis and high costs

by Freya Lucas

January 17, 2022

Tasmanian Labor Party Candidate for Bass, Ross Hart, has said that the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector is in need of urgent reform as services in his electorate and around the country battle workforce shortages and high costs. 

 

Speaking with local publication The Examiner, Mr Hart said the first issue that needed to be addressed was the workforce requirement so the sector could attract, train and retain staff.

 

As well as the Federal Labor party’s plan and policy with respect to free TAFE funding for areas which have significant demand for workforce development, Mr Hart said the challenge policymakers had was in understanding how the sector could be reformed to make ECEC a sustainable career.

 

“The issues can be dealt with at a federal level if one has a commitment to dealing with this area as being something more than simply childminding,” he said.

 

“We need to look at whether childcare workers are paid enough, whether they have enough certainty in their employment, whether the role is an important role in the community, and I would argue that it’s a very important role.”

 

This position was countered by Bass Liberal MHR, Bridget Archer, who said providing free education for childcare workers was “not a long term solution”.

 

“The idea of providing free training in order to address the multiple challenges that exist when addressing the recruitment and retention of childcare workers is simplistic and doesn’t provide a long-term solution,” she said.

 

RTO offers differing perspectives

 

Mat Rowell, CEO of Tasmanian RTO and approved ECEC provider, Lady Gowrie Tasmania told the paper that reducing the cost of training had helped the organisation address the workforce shortage.

 

“We tend to charge a lower fee for people to do their qualification through our organisation,” he added, noting that ECEC sector pay is ”not particularly generous,” and that removing the cost to train staff could help address the workforce shortage.

 

Ms Archer said she was willing to work with the sector to work towards a solution in a sector with “layers of complexity”. 

 

I’m committed to continuing to work constructively with the sector to address some of the challenges,” she said in closing.

 

To access the original coverage of this story please see here.  

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