Australian Childcare Alliance president Gwynn Bridge said the rally, which ended at the office door of Fremantle MHR Melissa Parke, was organised because workers wanted the funding distributed equally to all early-years educators and not used to ‘buffer’ the wages of a small section of the childcare workforce.
She said a better solution was a $1-an-hour increase to everyone, which would avoid increased costs for parents, as opposed to as much as a $5 increase to a select few.
‘We are demanding that the Prime Minister revisit this ill-thought initiative and distribute the grant equally amongst educators so that every worker gets $1 an hour,’ she said.
‘Some services will be fortunate enough to receive a wage increase for two years, but the centres that miss out could be pressured to match the increase in wages in order to keep their educators.’
Childcare Association of WA executive officer Rachelle Tucker said there were approximately 380 long day care services in the Perth Metropolitan area and that rally members on Monday were disappointed Ms Parke did not address them.
‘The first-in-first-serve grant only supplement the wages for up to 40 per cent of all long day care centre educators, and we believe all educators are valuable and deserve a share,’ she said.
‘If the Government wants to increase professionalism of the sector and encourage fewer turnovers they need to recognise everyone, not just a few.’
Ms Parke said she supported better pay and conditions for early childhood educators.
‘Rallies are a legitimate way of expressing a point of view but if the people who attended my office on Monday had contacted me in advance we could easily have sat down for a conversation,’ she said.