22 Mar | '2023
Earlier this month my good friend and colleague the member for Forrest and I held a roundtable with early childhood educators in Bunbury in the great state of Western Australia. We metaround 20 educators from for-profit, not-for-profit and community services, and we discussed their concerns, their ideas and their experiences. Many of the educators told us that they had waitlists, struggled with staff shortages and burnout, and faced an increasing level of red tape. Many expressed concern about the government’s cheaper childcare policy, as they don’t currently have enough staff and will have to turn families away. They shared stories of struggles to recruit educators, especially in regional and rural areas, with one service saying—through tears, I might add—that they would soon close their doors, as they couldn’t find staff to stay open.
Two mothers from Augusta, Kylie and Melissa, shared the work they’ve been doing to establish an ECE service in Augusta, which is currently a childcare desert. During the last election, Nola Marino, the member for Forrest committed $400,000 to establish an ECE service in Augusta, and Labor refused to match it, which is an absolute crying shame. It’s a shame that Labor only cares about you if you live in a major city. Labor thinks that all their early learning problems will be solved from 1 July, but, with services and educators struggling and families unable to access care, Australians deserve to know if they really will be better off under Labor.