WHAT: Educators launch national Shut Down at Parliament House
WHERE: Senate Courtyard, Parliament House, ACT
NATIONAL ACTION TO FOLLOW: Today thousands of educators across the country will shut down the early education sector to demand real reform. Local information and events below.
Quotes attributable to Helen Gibbons, Director Early Education, United Workers Union:
“Today’s nationwide action shows United Workers Union members are committed to fighting for reform. After nearly a decade of inaction from the previous government, the early education sector is in crisis. There are thousands of staff vacancies across the country and centres are turning away children because they don’t have enough staff.
- 98% of educators say that staffing shortages are impacting the quality of care and education children receive. A further 99% say that workload and staffing issues are making educators feel burnt out and undervalued.
- 68% of long day care centres exist to make a profit of a young child’s education. Shareholders and private equity come before children.
- 12% of long day care centres fail to meet minimum standards. That’s thousands of children attending over 1750 centres that fail to meet the minimum national benchmark.
- 18% of centres operate with a staffing waiver because they can’t find enough qualified staff.
- Out of 8556 long day care centres across Australia, only 37 are rated as excellent.
“This all means that taxpayers are not getting what we pay for. Many children not getting the best possible early learning environment and parents are often not able to find appropriate care.
“Educators have had enough.
“The new Federal Government must urgently take concrete steps to address the workforce crisis in early education and reform the sector.
“Early education, often referred to as childcare, was front and centre at last week’s Jobs and Skills Summit. The Summit highlighted the necessity of addressing the historical inequity of feminised industries, as well as increasing women’s workforce participation. Early education is a key priority of the new government, but we need to get it right.
“Since the announcement of the Shut Down action in July, there has been an outpouring of support from parents, families and whole communities.
“Hundreds of centres from Darwin to Hobart are shutting down today, with actions across every state and in every capital city. An estimated 70,000 families will be affected.
“Communities and families are out in force supporting educators’ action.
“We must reform the early learning sector to respect educators, and to give future generations the start in life they deserve. Early childhood education must be recognised and valued for what it is: a vital part of the education sector.
“It’s time for real action from the Federal Government.
“United Workers Union members are calling for the Government to work with educators to urgently outline a plan and timeline to deliver on 3 key priorities:
- Give us a reason to stay & pay us what we are worth,
- Value early learning as part of the education system, just as important as schools, and
- Put children before profit.
“Early childhood educators perform a vital role in our society and have the respect of the parents and families they support. It’s time for the Federal Government to respect educators too.”
Quotes attributable to Maddy Calcraft, Early Childhood Educator in Tasmania:
“The early childhood education sector is in crisis. Every day I see colleagues taking work home, purchasing resources from their own pockets and exhausting themselves to try to give quality education and care. The system is failing all of us.
“If nothing changes then we will continue to see educators leave the sector in droves, not for lack of love but because it breaks their hearts to be forced to put profit before your children.”
Quotes attributable to Leonie, ACT parent:
“As a parent, I know that early childhood educators play such a vital role in our whole community. Every day I go to work and know that my child is in safe hands. You cannot put a price on that.
“Early childhood educators do an amazing job every day educating and caring for my child. My whole family relies on them to be able to go about our daily lives, to work and to know that our children are getting the education, care and attention they deserve.
“It hurts to think that these dedicated people don’t get the pay or respect they deserve. What job is more important than our children?
“Every parent understands the important job educators do. Now the Government needs to step up and pay them what they’re worth.”
Major events across the country
Parliament House, ACT
Press conference 11:30 AEST – Senate Courtyard
Rally from 3:30 AEST – Parliament House Lawns
Rally starts at Federation Square, marching to Fitzroy Gardens
Perth Cultural Centre
Rally starts at SA Parliament House, marching to Elder Park
Casuarina Childcare Centre, Darwin
Hobart Town Hall, 50 Macquarie St
Queens Gardens, CBD
Charles St Oval
Hervey Bay, QLD
Rally starts at Martin Place, marching to 1 Bligh St
Rally starts Jondaryan Ave, marching to Griffith Memorial Park
Local centres and educators available for comment.
UWU Media Contact: 1300 898 633, [email protected]