Broken Hill childcare centres not taking part in national strike

Today – Wednesday – there will be a nationwide strike by the childcare sector, but not in Broken Hill.

The strike comes about as the crisis in the sector worsens with high staff turnover, educators and staff shortages and stress major contributing factors.

Nicole Delbridge, director of Broken Hill’s Rainbow Preschool told us the sector sees this strike as an opportunity to ask the federal and state governments to respect educators and commit to a plan to fix the early education sector.

The situation in Broken Hill is more dire than most, says Ms Delbridge.

She branded our area a ‘childcare desert’ due to the fact there are more children than open enrolment places.

Although Broken Hill Childcare Centres are not taking part in the strike, as they do not wish to inconvenience the community that relies on them so much, Ms Delbridge says they certainly support the strike, it is also the case that many childcare workers can’t afford to lose a day’s pay, she said.

“As service providers shut down across the nation today, local services have chosen to stay open due to the importance we play in providing care and education to our families and there are those educators that cannot afford to lose a day’s wages.

“We are fortunate at Rainbow Pre School that our management offer us above award conditions, but sadly this is not the case for all services.”

“Educators need to be able to feel they can deliver optimal and emotionally supportive environments to engage those people wanting to choose Early Childhood Education as a career. It is time to place value on the sector’s working conditions as these are children’s learning conditions.”

“Research shows the importance of quality early childhood education provided to children under five,” Ms Delbridge said, “it sets them up for the rest of their education.

It is time that early childhood education is recognised as part of the education system and that education is education no matter the age.

“The sector was in crises before the COVID 19 pandemic. This is not a new situation. The time for listening is over and we need action now.”

The childcare crisis is having a much wider impact on Broken Hill than you might think. The lack of childcare enrolment places is having a direct effect on the towns ability to attract skilled workers for essential services including GPs and teachers, amongst many others.

To find out how you can support the industrial action being taken by the childcare sector, talk to your local childcare educator. Ms Delbridge points out you can also send an email to your local MP asking for reform.

PICTURE: Early Childhood Directors in support of sector changes. Tess Gilmour (Playtime Preschool), Amy Johnson (Happy Day Preschool and Long Day Care) and Nicole Delbridge (Rainbow Preschool)

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