Childcare workers to benefit from Federal Govt pay rise

Minister for Education Peter Garrett.
Minister for Education Peter Garrett. Rob Williams

AN EXTRA $3 an hour in the pockets of low-paid childcare workers has been promised by the Federal Government, as part of a two-year, $300-million package.

While the government-subsidised pay rise for child care workers was likely to be welcomed, it was a far cry from the $4.8 billion the sector requested last year.

Early Childhood Minister and two other federal government ministers announced the new $300 million Early Years Quality Fund on Tuesday.

The fund centres on the $3-an-hour pay rise for workers with a Certificate III from July 1 this year, while those with higher qualifications will get a bigger subsidised pay rise.

But the announcement did not come with detail of how much better qualified early childhood workers could expect to get, only that it would be offset by savings.

The funds would be paid through long day care centres eligible for child care benefit payments, and would be accompanied by commitments by the centre not to raise fees by any more than the actual increased operational costs.

"We know that quality early childhood education and care is dependent on having a qualified and professional workforce," Minister Garrett said.

"We have listened to the sector and to parents and we are pleased to introduce this fund to provide grants to help attract and retain qualified staff."

But the new funds came after a campaign by the early childhood sector for more than $4 billion over the next few years not just for a pay rise, but also for packages to improve workers training and outcomes, among other initiatives.

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