Shorten promises massive boost for early childhood education
IEU welcomes the future Shorten Labor Government’s promise of an historic $4 billion investment in early childhood, a move that would support quality early education, pay increases for early childhood teachers and a move towards pay equity in a feminised industry.
The IEUA NSW/ACT Branch said recognition of the need to properly fund and resource services for children in the critical early development phase up to five years was long overdue.
“The ALP announcement recognises that early childhood is about education not merely childcare,” IEUA NSW/ACT Branch Secretary John Quessy said.
In the first five years of life 90% of a child’s brain development occurs, yet early childhood teachers are some of the lowest paid workers in Australia.
Labor’s funding commitment would increase early childhood teachers’ pay by around 20% over eight years, improving the gender pay gap.
“We also welcome the commitment from a future Shorten Labor government of universal access to early childhood education for three and four year olds,” Quessy said.
Access to quality early childhood education, led by a qualified teacher, is standard international practice and reflects academic consensus regarding best practice early childhood development.
“We look forward to the opportunity of working with a future Labor government to develop and implement these much needed and long overdue reforms.”
IEU early childhood sector spokesperson Verena Heron said: “We’re also calling upon a Labor Government to support the IEU’s ongoing equal remuneration case for early childhood teachers, due to resume at the Fair Work Commission in June.”