Lauga pays tribute to early childhood educators’ efforts
IN CELEBRATION of today being Early Childhood Educators Day, Assistant Education Minister and Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga has taken the opportunity to celebrate their key role in supporting CQ families through the COVID-19 health pandemic.
Ms Lauga said Early Childhood Educators Day was a fantastic opportunity each year to acknowledge and thank early childhood educators for the great work they do day-in day-out.
“This is particularly the case in 2020—a year like no other,” she said.
“The early childhood workforce has played such an incredibly important role in supporting Queensland families through the COVID-19 health pandemic by continuing to provide safe and engaging environments for children to play and learn.
“Early childhood educators are truly on the frontline of our response to the COVID-19 health pandemic.”
Ms Lauga said the Queensland Government was committed to giving every child a great start.
Integral to that was quality early childhood education delivered by dedicated, professional early childhood educators.
Since 2016, Ms Lauga said her government’s $80 million Education and Care Workforce Action Plan 2016–19 delivered an increase of 17 per cent in the number of qualified educators and a 26 per cent increase in the number of early childhood teachers (ECTs).
“Our ongoing commitment is to continue the work with the early childhood sector to strengthen the capability and confidence of all educators to respond to the diverse needs of children and families and improve quality teaching and learning in the early years,” she said.
There were a number of key strategies in place to continue supporting early childhood workforce in 2020–21 including:
- Initiatives to increase qualified ECTs by 2022;
- Mentoring and leadership capability initiatives for early career teachers and educational leaders; and
- Development of resources to support workforce planning focusing on attraction, retention and upskilling of educators and ECTs.
Federal support for childcare and a call to make it free
Aiming to keep childcare providers afloat during the coronavirus pandemic the Federal Government introduced a free scheme in April.
Recognising the COVID-19 pandemic recovery was starting to take hold, the government wound back the support for parents and reintroduced the Child Care Subsidy in July.
The amount parents received from the subsidy depended on the family’s income, the hourly rate cap paid for child care and the hours of work, or undertaking recognised activities such as study or volunteer work.
The Government loosened the criteria for recognised activities for families whose employment had been impacted by COVID-19 and they will receive up to 100 hours per fortnight of subsidised care until October 4.
For people who have lost their jobs, income or were adversely affected by the bushfires or COVID-19, they are eligible to apply for financial hardship through the Additional Child Care Subsidy.
If eligible, they won’t have to meet the activity test and the full cost of child care will be covered in most case.
Yesterday Greens leader Adam Bandt called for Australia to introduce a Swedish style universal childcare system funded by taxpayers.
The Swedish childcare model costs 1.6 per cent of the country’s GDP – or $11.8 billion a year – but families are still required to pay less than $200 a month on childcare.
Mr Bandt wanted to go beyond the Swedish model, calling for Prime Minister Scott Morrison to make childcare entirely free.
“To many parents childcare is expensive, the waiting lists are long and places aren’t available where they need them,” Mr Bandt said.
“Prime Minister will you use the upcoming budget to make child care universal and free?”
Education Minister Dan Tehan said in response that those who “earn the least” get affordable care.
“For parents there has been a 3.2 per cent reduction out-of-pocket reduction in costs since the childcare subsidy came into place,” Mr Tehan said.