ELIGIBLE child care workers could see their wages increase by $3 per hour from July 1 under the federal government’s Early Years Quality Fund.
The move,which implements the National Quality Framework (NQF), is aimed at boosting the quality of early childhood education and support workplace reform.
The Minister for Early Childhood Peter Garrett said the wage increase would assist in raising the professional status of the early childhood educators.
However, University of Ballarat senior lecturer in Early Childhood Education, Sue Emmett, said more needed to be done to support child care workers.
“I think it is on the right track but it is a very small contribution really,” Dr Emmett said.
“It is only targeting select numbers, you have to apply for it and it’s not across the board.”
The NQF requires early childhood education services to employ staff with higher-education qualifications by 2014.
The federal government imitative will seek to invest $300 million over two years in the sector.
Grants will be provided to services to offset the cost of employing a better-qualified workforce.
Eligible services will receive grants to promote productivity and increase wages for employees with a certificate III by $3 per hour from July 1. There will also be proportional increases for staff across the existing classification scale.
Dr Emmett said there was a serious inequity in pay for educators in early childhood centre.
“Its an incredibly complex work that the child care workers do,” she said.
Dr Emmett said a large amount of both international and national research had pointed to the early years as being fundamental for the future life opportunities of citizens.
“... Neurobiological studies emphasise the importance of brain development in the early years,” she said.
“We need the best qualified people to be working with these children.”