CENTRAL Victorian childcare workers are hailing a federal government pledging fund which will increase workers’ pay by up to $200 per week for the next two years.
But some are concerned about what will happen after the $300 million committed to the Early Years Quality Fund runs out.
Under the plan, eligible services will receive grants to increase wages for employees with a Certificate III by $3 per hour from July 1, which will see the average childcare worker receive an extra $114 per week.
Castlemaine Childcare co-operative co-ordinator Ayesha MacEwan said while she was pleased her employees would receive more appropriate remuneration for their efforts, she was concerned what would happen after two years.
“We’re pleased but we have reservations because it’s a two year commitment. It’s a bit non-committal.
“It’s very hard to cut some of these wages if you’ve given them extra.”
Ms MacEwan said she hoped the wage increase would lead to greater regulation over all education workers’ wages and conditions, and stop employees leaving the industry.
“I think the good thing about this is that’s the first step by the government showing they can support educators,” she said.
“It is them saying, ‘we can step in and we can begin to regulate educators’ wages’.”
Labor candidate for Bendigo Lisa Chesters said the government would be working closely with the childcare industry to ensure wages and conditions of workers continued to improve after the fund.
“We’ll be working with the sector to work out the next step before the two years is up,” she said. “This is just the beginning.”