Early Years Quality Fund in doubt

Federal Member for Bendigo, Lisa Chesters, today will receive a petition signed by over 150 Castlemaine parents calling on Coalition Minister Sussan Ley to commit to the Early Years Quality Fund for their centre, Castlemaine Childcare Centre.

"The Early Years Quality Fund was created to help child care providers with the cost of employing more qualified workers, and to ensure the highest quality education and care is being provided ” Ms Chesters said.

Under the plan, eligible services will receive grants to increase wages for employees with a Certificate III by $3 per hour from July 1.

To qualify, child care providers must be able to demonstrate how they will meet the National Quality Framework qualification requirements.

Child care providers must agree that any fee increases must reflect actual increases in costs, and parents must be given more information about the financial help the Federal Government provides to them through the Child Care Benefit and Child Care Rebate.

“This pay rise for these hard working Castlemaine Childcare Educators is now at risk,” Ms Chesters said.

“It’s disappointing that after having qualified, the Castlemaine Childcare Centre may now miss out on this vital funding.

“I join the parents in calling on the new Minister Hon. Sussan Ley to honour the conditional offer already made to the centre and its hard working educators.”

Ms Chesters said the Early Years Quality Fund was a vital initiative for an industry in crisis.

"Right now the industry is in crisis with a third of educators leaving the sector every year and I have no doubt the figures are no different in Bendigo,” she said.

“High staff turnover puts the intellectual, emotional and social development of our children at risk.

"It’s only fair that working parents have confidence that their child will receive high quality care from well-trained staff.”