The ACT Government has welcomed $300 million in federal funding over the next two years to boost childcare wages nationwide.
The $300 million in the coming Federal Budget allocated to the Early Years Quality Fund (EYQF) was described today as “a first installment to delivering professional wages” by United Voice, a union representing childcare workers.
United Voice federal secretary Louise Tarrant said the taxpayer-funded wage rise of between $3 and $5.23 per hour would go directly into the pockets of workers, with no increase to costs for childcare providers or fees for parents.
ACT Minister for Children and Young People, Joy Burch, said the $300 million would complement the ACT Government’s past childcare funding which, she said, had doubled the number of childcare places available in the ACT since 2001.
“The Government is building on this provision through the recent Election commitment to provide $4.5 million to deliver more affordable, quality childcare across Canberra, providing up to 100 new childcare places,” Ms Burch said in a statement.
The ACT Government is also providing scholarships worth $1.04 million for the continuing professional development of early childhood educators, she said.
As well as the wage funding, the Commonwealth announced the establishment of a new Pay Equity Unit within the Fair Work Commission, with an initial focus on the early childhood education and care sector, to inform matters related to pay equity under the Fair Work Act.
Ms Burch said it was appropriate for Fair Work to consider this matter, just as it did for social and community services workers, who received a large pay rise last year.