Grattan CEO says Aussies should be shocked by childcare pay
The Sector > Workforce > Advocacy > Grattan Institute CEO says Australians ‘should be shocked’ at the salaries in ECEC

Grattan Institute CEO says Australians ‘should be shocked’ at the salaries in ECEC

by Freya Lucas

May 05, 2023

Danielle Wood, CEO from The Grattan Institute, used a National Press Club address on Wednesday to highlight the issue of low wages in the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector, saying Australians “should be shocked.” 


While the sector needs many new workers to come into the field in order to meet demand, the fact that these workers could be earning a similar wage at McDonalds or Bunnings is likely to prove a barrier, she continued, compelling decision makers to make wage growth in the sector a priority. 


“The fact trained workers doing this critical and emotionally challenging work are getting little more than those flipping burgers at McDonald’s or manning the counters at Bunnings, should shock us,” she said.


Australia, she continued, will be unable to meet its full potential until it makes “better use” of its highly skilled women, something which cannot happen without reliable and affordable access to ECEC. 


Ms Wood also called for reform to the childcare activity test, something she said “significantly restricts access to subsidised care for some families.”


A recent women’s economic equality task force made the same recommendation, leaving advocates hopeful that the Government can be persuaded to abolish it before the Budget is handed down.


Ms Wood’s comments come in line with both a $55 billion four year commitment to make ECEC more affordable for families, as well as a recent announcement that the Government will set aside $72.4 million across five years to support the professional development needs of the ECEC sector.


More than 80,000 early childhood educators are set to benefit from the subsidised professional development offering, which will have a focus on regional and remote services and Indigenous organisations.


Learn more about the professional development proposal here. To access Ms Wood’s remarks in full, please see here.

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