Peter Khalil: Early Learning Matters Week is held between 1 September and 6 September and highlights the benefits of quality early learning and education for our children and their families in our community. Scientific evidence says 90 per cent of a child’s brain develops in their first five years, so it is vital they have access to quality early education and early learning services. That is why Labor took a policy of universal kinder for three- to four-year-olds to the last election.
During the week, I had the pleasure of visiting the Coburg Children’s Centre in my electorate. It was wonderful to tour the facility and see the great work that happens at the centre. I’d like to thank Marla, who’s four, for showing me her puzzle skills, and Max for giving me a tour of the sandpit. The week is important for showcasing and celebrating the work of centres and their staff, who do amazing work in caring for our children and supporting families in our community. That’s why we were proud to make a commitment at the last election to give early childhood educators a pay rise. There is a gender pay gap—90 per cent of early educators are women, and yet they get paid around 30 per cent less than workers in other sectors with comparable qualifications.
So I’d like to thank the staff, the parents, the students and all the early education centres across my electorate of Wills for all the wonderful, fantastic work they do to support our children. I look forward to touring more facilities within my electorate. I take the opportunity to say to the government benches: provide greater support services for childcare workers, who desperately deserve a pay rise, and support greater access to kinder and early learning services for families across the country.