Australian Greens Education spokesperson Senator Mehreen Faruqi has welcomed the release today of the Big Steps/United Workers Union report Exhausted, Undervalued and Leaving: The Crisis in Early Education. The survey of more than 3,800 educators finds a sector at ‘breaking point’, with high turnover, low pay, and no plan from the Federal Government to fix it.
Senator Faruqi said:
“This report makes for very alarming reading. This is a story of government neglect, an undervalued workforce, privatisation, and an essential service delivered on the back of burnt-out staff.
“It’s a national shame that early educators are taken for granted in this country. Staff are leaving in droves and frankly the sector is in crisis. We should not be in a situation of chronic understaffing and high turnover.
“The government needs to completely rethink its approach to early learning and care. That means strong and sustained investment to make early childhood education free once more, and a workforce strategy that deals directly with issues of low pay and understaffing.
“Perhaps not surprisingly, this report finds worse results for staff in for-profit centres as opposed to not-for-profit services. Education is not a business.
“The Greens back the Big Steps campaign and the call for a workforce strategy that delivers higher wages for early educators. Early learning is invaluable for children and educators deserve our utmost respect.”