Inner West Council hears motion to support women’s economic quality and wages
Early childhood education and care (ECEC) employees in Sydney’s Inner West felt bolstered earlier this week by a motion put forward by Councillor Liz Atkins and carried by the Inner West Council.
The motion called for support in the advancement of women’s economic quality and increased wages in feminised sectors and industries such as ECEC.
The motion asked that Council acknowledge the importance of recommendations made by the Women’s Economic Equality Taskforce, a body established to advance women’s economic equality, which include the need for an increase in the award for early childhood educators, the universalisation of ECEC for families, paid placements for feminised sectors industries like health and education, and employment targets for women and minorities.
The Taskforce has a 10-year plan to unleash the full capacity and contribution of women to the Australian economy between 2023–2033, which was delivered on 23 August 2023.
Specifically, the motion asked for a meeting between the Premier, the Minister for Local Government, the Minister for Early Learning, Inner West Councillors, and representatives of early childhood educators in the United Services Union.
Greater collaboration in early education with the state government would provide greater support for Council’s work in early education and would support Council to take action on implementing these recommendations in the local government area.
Cr Atkins also noted that economic inequality was particularly “harsh” on those from refugee, migrant and First Nations families, and that Council needs further support from the State Government to deliver these services, especially to more vulnerable families.
The Council, she continued, has a key role to play in providing quality ECEC, and in fostering a connection and commitment to quality ECEC at all levels of Government to create a greater impact for women and children.
An amendment put forward by Councillor Mat Howard and Councillor Philippa Scott called instead for the Council to write to the NSW Government and Commonwealth Government seeking greater collaboration between levels of government, organisations and agencies in supporting the Council’s work in early education.
Proving divisive amongst Council members, the vote on the amendment was initially a tie, but was carried via casting vote by the chairperson, Acting Mayor Chloe Smith.
Disappointed by this outcome, Clr Atkins said they “believe it would have been a much stronger outcome for Council to get in a room with the people who can actually make things happen.”
“We need to put the Premier and Ministers on the spot.”
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