I can’t open rooms without staff - Provider shares frustrations at new reforms
The Sector > Economics > Affordability & Accessibility > I can’t open rooms without staff – Provider shares frustrations at new reforms

I can’t open rooms without staff – Provider shares frustrations at new reforms

by Freya Lucas

September 30, 2022

The proposed changes to make early childhood education and care (ECEC) more affordable, as presented to parliament this week, will be useless to parents unless more attention is given to measures to attract and retain staff in the sector, providers speaking to the ABC have said.


For Pam Maclean, who owns and operates two services on the Queensland Sunshine Coast, with a third under construction, the staffing situation is “the worst she’d seen” during her 40 years in the ECEC sector.


Despite having waiting lists of 150 children, rooms in her service remain empty because she is unable to open them without the required staff. Rooms which should be catering for 20 children are capped at 15, and she told the ABC families are becoming frustrated. 


“They’ve got bosses saying, ‘we want you back at work four days a week’, but they can’t get care,” she said.


Rebecca Cronin has tried to enrol her twins at more than 20 centres in a bid to return to work.


“We were told flat out ‘no’ probably 90 per cent of the time,” Ms Cronin said.


“We were told by some centres that they would have a Tuesday here for one twin and a Thursday there for another twin.”


Ultimately she had to enrol her three children at two different services in order to access the care she needed. 


Ms Maclean said there was a need for urgent attention to the staffing crisis, particularly in communities where the COVID-19 vaccination mandates meant many educators “voted with their feet” and moved into other professions without a mandate, failing to return once the directions had been rescinded. 


Over the past fortnight, just on the Sunshine Coast, she has counted 200 advertisements for educators on the Sunshine Coast alone on two online recruitment platforms. 


“Some operators are offering $1,000 just to get them there,” she said.


“It makes us worried about the survival of everybody in the local economies of the country,” she said. “They can’t get their staff to work if we can’t offer childcare.”

To read the original article please see here.

Download The Sector's new App!

ECEC news, jobs, events and more anytime, anywhere.

Download App on Apple App Store Button Download App on Google Play Store Button