Release type: Transcript


Doorstop interview - Goodstart Garran


The Hon Dr Anne Aly MP
Minister for Early Childhood Education
Minister for Youth
Ms Alicia Payne MP
Member for Canberra

SUBJECTS: Wage increase for early childhood educators; cost of living relief

ALICIA PAYNE, MEMBER FOR CANBERRA: Good morning, everyone. I’m Alicia Payne, Member for Canberra, and it’s my great pleasure this morning to be here at Goodstart Garran. And thank you, again, to Asunta and the team for welcoming us here to your beautiful centre and meeting some of the gorgeous children who are starting their day here at Goodstart. 

It’s my great pleasure to welcome the Minister for Early Childhood Education, Dr Anne Aly, today. And we’ve also got Ros Baxter, CEO of Goodstart, here to talk about the importance of early childhood education and how the Albanese Labor Government is prioritising it in our Budget. 

As a mum of children who have been and are going to early childhood education, you just are humbled by the incredible work that educators do each and every day to care for and educate our children. It is a job that requires so much skill, dedication and patience. And for too long they’ve not received the pay and recognition that they deserve. And that’s why I’m so proud that in our Budget we are looking at providing – we are committing to providing a pay rise for early childhood educators. 

We’ve also been obviously working hard to make child care more affordable for families. And this is a huge issue in Canberra with cost of living at the moment so important that people can afford to access the great benefits of early childhood education and care and that they’re not deciding between working or not because they can’t afford early childhood education. 

So there’s a lot of great things to talk about. And, again, I just want to say thank you to all of the early childhood educators in Canberra and around the country, and particularly to the team here at Goodstart Garran for welcoming us today. And I’ll hand over to the Minister. 

MINISTER ANNE ALY: Thanks, so much, Alicia. She’s just such a great local member who understands just how important early childhood education and care is for our economy but also for the developing minds of these little ones here. It’s so great to be here in Garran. I want to say a huge thank you to Asunta and her team here, an incredible team of early childhood educators and teachers who many of them have been in this sector for such a long time who really have demonstrated to me today the reason why they deserve a pay rise and why I’m so proud, as is Alicia, to be part of the government that is finally making that provision in the Budget for that pay rise. 

It's also great to be here to talk to and see the wonderful families that drop off their children here. We’re just around the corner from the hospital, and I’m told that many of the families here are essential workers at the hospital – people who are frontline workers, nurses and doctors and paramedics. 

And the ACCC review showed that the changes that we made to the Child Care Subsidy through our Cheaper Child Care bill within six months of coming into office has reduced out-of-pocket expenses for families like those here by 11 per cent on average. Those families are also going to get more cost of living relief through the tax cuts, Labor’s tax cuts, which means that they’ll be getting more money in their pockets at tax time. 

The budget that we delivered is a budget that provided cost of living relief whilst at the same time being able to provide a record second surplus in a row. And the reason that we were able to do that was because of good economic management. Good economic management that put at the forefront cost of living relief for families just like the families here that are doing it tough. Those families are getting cost of living relief when they drop off their children here at early childhood education and care, relief when they do their tax returns, relief when they go to the doctor, relief when they pay for their medicines and energy bill relief. 

And I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved in this budget for families. But I’m especially proud as the Minister for Early Childhood Education and Care to be able to say that after many long years of campaigning – and I’m looking here at the Big Steps campaign, something that I signed on to in 2016 when I was first elected – after many years of campaigning early childhood educators and teachers have finally had a government that is listening to them, that recognises the importance of this sector to children, to families, to the economy, and recognises the importance of the work that they do and has provisioned for a wage increase for early childhood educators. 

Now, of course, we are at a Goodstart, one of many across the country. And it’s always a pleasure to visit Goodstart, but I want to hand over to Ros Baxter who is the CEO of Goodstart to talk a little bit more about this important wage increase and what it’s going to mean for this sector. 

ROS BAXTER, CEO GOODSTART: Thank you so much, Minister. And we can’t thank you enough for coming to visit us here, Asunta and her team, at Goodstart Garran, and also to Alicia Payne, our member. It’s just wonderful to have people here from a government who is showing that its investing each day in our sector and our children. Of course, the first five years of life are critical to human development – 80 per cent of our brains are formed in the first five years, and it’s just wonderful to see these investments and this interest. We were really excited to see the provision in the federal budget for educator wages. We’ve been walking around here this morning talking to our amazing teachers, educators, and other staff who’ve worked so hard for so long in this vital industry, and now to know that the recognition is very soon to be coming to them is a really important moment. I want to take a moment personally to thank them for all the work that they do helping to grow these children, helping their health, development and learning. 

The other piece, of course, that’s really important is cost of living, and we have some children here whose families will have benefited from the cheaper child care reforms that we’ve seen recently. We know from our data that if you’re a family on a medium income you’re saving about $15 a day in your out of pockets, which is about 35 per cent decrease on where your out of pockets were at before cheaper child care. So we’re thrilled with that. We’re looking for more. We’re always looking for more, and we’re certainly looking for more for our educators, but we’re really looking forward to continuing this conversation with the government about how we keep supporting our educators, our families and, most importantly, the nation’s most important resource – our youngest people. 

So thank you so much for being here. Thanks to you, Asunta, for making the time. And Goodstart really stands ready as we translate this provision in the Budget into educator wages to help out however we can. So thank you all. 

ALY: Thanks, Ros. Any questions? We’ll open it up to questions now. 

JOURNALIST: I don’t have a question about this; I do have a question about the news of the day, though. 

ALY: Okay, yes. 

JOURNALIST: The Immigration Minister Giles, should he keep his position? Do you think the Prime Minister will do a reshuffle? 

ALY: No, I think Minister Giles has done a wonderful job in the face of inheriting a system from the previous government that was broken – broken in many respects. And if we’re talking specifically about the decisions taken by an AAT that was stacked by a previous government overseen by a hapless minister who is now a hapless Leader of the Opposition that made decisions that released dangerous criminals into Australian society, Minister Giles has acted swiftly. We have dismantled the AAT, or we’re dismantling the AAT. He is revoking Direction 99 upon realising that the AAT – again, one that was stacked by the previous government – has been making decisions that are not in the best interests of the safety of Australians. 

JOURNALIST: So, would it be fair to say that the Government still has confidence in the Minister? 

ALY: Absolutely. Thank you. 

JOURNALIST: Thank you. 

ALY: That’s it? 

JOURNALIST: Could I ask – when will workers see a pay rise? 

ALY: We’ll, we’ve got the Fair Work Commission, it will be making its decision on Monday. And so we’ll take our cue from there and it will go from there. Thanks, guys.