Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has promised that a Labor government will work to increase the wages of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) workers by 20% over eight years. That’s pretty conventional, but the method isn’t.
The government will directly fund the salary increases so that neither childcare providers nor parents bear the costs. These increases will be in addition to any changes to the award over these years.
Internationally, such interventions exist, but they’re rare. In Ontario, Canada, the government tops up the salaries of childcare workers by $2 per hour. For Australia, it’s a first.
Childcare workers are among the lowest-paid in the country, with more than 70% reliant on award rates that are not much higher than the minimum wage.