Greens Deputy Leader warns of ECEC collapse, calling for action
The Sector > Workforce > Advocacy > ECEC is ‘clearly collapsing’ Greens leader warns, commenting on UWU report

ECEC is ‘clearly collapsing’ Greens leader warns, commenting on UWU report

by Freya Lucas

October 24, 2023

“The sector is clearly collapsing and the government is too slow to fix it,” Australian Greens Deputy Leader Senator Mehreen Faruqi has warned, commenting on a survey conducted by the United Workers Union (UWU) which showed “the desperate need for permanent, experienced staff and sufficient educator to children ratios”.


Senator Faruqi’s comments follow the publication of a piece in The Guardian in which Melbourne-based educator Annie Mok outlined the serious concerns she has about the loss of experienced staff from the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector, which has left many services increasingly relying on casual or agency staff who are not familiar with the children, the service, the policies and practices, and the general environment, which exposes children to greater risk. 


“Before the crisis, if you put an ad out for an educator, you’d get a lot of applicants, and you could interview and pick the best one,” Ms Mok told The Guardian.


Now, centres are “lucky if anyone applies” and are inclined to “take whoever comes through the door because they’re desperate for staff”.


Senator Faruqi has called on the government to “step up and fund pay rises, and ensure better working conditions across the sector”.


The UWU survey was conducted across 1,000 services, and found that two-thirds of respondents believed staff shortages have affected the wellbeing and safety of children, and nearly a quarter believe the safety of children was “at risk”. 


“The staffing crisis is so deep that children’s safety is at risk. This is unacceptable,” the Senator said.


“The urgent and expanding staffing crisis in early childhood education demands immediate government action.”


“Tinkering around the edges will not fix a system that is falling apart and failing families and children. (The Government) needs to lift educator wages, fix conditions and deal with the critical workforce shortage in early learning and care.”


Read the Senator’s statement in full here. To access coverage produced by The Guardian, 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