ECEC peak bodies respond to ALP election win: ‘a clear commitment to young children’
Australia’s early childhood education and care (ECEC) peak bodies have responded to the election of Australia’s new Prime Minister elect Anthony Albanese with cautious optimism, calling on the incoming Government to support the sector during “a desperate shortage of qualified early childhood educators and teachers, which is hampering our capacity to meet families needs”.
The Australian Education Union (AEU), the Australian Childcare Alliance (ACA), Early Childhood Australia (ECA) and the Early Learning and Care Council of Australia (ELACCA) all issued statements welcoming Mr Albanese and calling on him and his Government to action its commitments to the sector.
AEU Federal President Correna Haythorpe said the Union was looking forward to working with Prime Minister elect Anthony Albanese and the new Labor Government to address legacy issues from the outgoing Government.
“This is a vote of confidence in preschools, public schools and TAFE, and it’s a vote of confidence in the fundamental principle of equity in education,” she said.
Speaking on behalf of ELACCA CEO Elizabeth Death said the organisation viewed the election result as an opportunity for the ALP to deliver on its “clear commitment to meeting the needs of young children and their families”.
The new Government, she said, has urgent ECEC priorities to attend to.
“We need to ensure that every child has the opportunity to engage in early learning, regardless of their circumstances,” she explained.
“At the same time, we are battling a desperate shortage of qualified early childhood educators and teachers, which is hampering our capacity to meet families’ needs.”
ECA welcomed the ALP’s plans to improve affordability of ECEC as a positive step towards the ongoing investment needed to re-imagine a fairer and more inclusive early childhood education system.
CEO Samantha Page also emphasised the need to alleviate the immense pressure on the early learning workforce, and the ongoing challenge of staff shortages.
“Immediate funding is needed for professional learning in order to keep pace with the demands and complexities facing the current workforce,” she said.
“We welcome Labor’s position on making gender pay equity an objective of the Fair Work Act and hope this will be expedited to minimise the loss of qualified educators and teachers. A well-supported and professionally paid workforce is key to achieving stability in the sector and delivering the best early learning and development outcomes for children.”
Finally, ACA noted that the election outcome underscored that accessibility and affordability of ECEC is an issue that impacts a significant number of Australian families, and in particular working mothers.
ACA President Paul Mondo commended the ALP for its commitment to adopt all of ACA’s policy recommendations including equitable access to affordable early learning services – the new Government’s signature election promise.
“Clearly, families will be the biggest beneficiaries when the new Labor Government implements its increased affordability measures,” Mr Mondo said.
Despite this commendation, he emphasised that ACA remains concerned about the critical shortage of educators to meet demand, with service providers struggling to find suitable educators.
“Without educators, some families may not be able to access their early learning service as the provider struggles to employ enough suitably qualified educators and teachers.”
To learn more about the core commitments made by the ALP, please see here.
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