ABC Radio Mornings – child care workforce

Monday, 26 October 2020

DAVID BEVAN, HOST: Amanda Rishworth, good morning to you.

AMANDA RISHWORTH, SHADOW MINISTER FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION AND DEVELOPMENT: Good morning.

BEVAN: Apparently as a result of this shortage, you can earn a motser being a child care worker. It finishes off this article by saying one centre operator is offering qualified early childhood teachers in eastern states salaries of up to $84,000, eight weeks holidays and free care for the workers own children. They’re in big demand.

RISHWORTH: Early childhood teachers, so they’re people with a Bachelor degree, they are in big demand. One of the challenges has been teachers in an early childhood setting haven’t been getting the same salaries as in a primary school, so it seems that some centres are willing to be competitive with those primary schools.

BEVAN: Where is the shortage then?

RISHWORTH: There is a shortage particularly in teachers, but there’s also a shortage in Certificate 3 and Diploma qualified staff. What we’re hearing from the sector is that many early educators left during the pandemic, they couldn’t get work, they didn’t qualify for JobKeeper. And as a result now as demand has gone up for early learning and care places, many centres just do not have the educators that they need. It’s certainly a problem that has been exacerbated by the Federal Government abolishing the workforce plan. They had a workforce plan to look at how we make sure we have the qualified people, a long-term plan. That was abolished unfortunately in 2016, so we’ve got no guidance from the Federal Government about how we develop our workforce in this really important industry.

BEVAN: Is it your understanding that there are child care centres in South Australia that aren’t working to the mandated number of workers per child ratio?

RISHWORTH: It is my understanding that there’s been requests for exemptions from ratios and also for not having qualified people, so people that don’t have the Certificate 3. There have been some exemptions granted from the government is my understanding, but I don’t know exactly where. But the excuse was it was during a pandemic. It is really concerning for families I think, so it’s incumbent on the government to actually put a plan in to solve this problem.

BEVAN: Amanda Rishworth thanks for your time, Shadow Child Care Minister.

ENDS

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