Thursday, July 28, 2022

Desperately short of qualified staff, childcare centres ask to bend the rules

The requirement that child care staff must be university-educated is a nonsense. How many mothers have relevant degrees? Some training would probably help but a tech college certificate in the subject should suffice. The shortage of staff is a government-created one

The latest data reveals that 8.1 per cent of childcare providers operated with a staffing waiver in the first quarter of 2022. They could not meet the legal requirement for suitably qualified early childhood teachers on staff.

The staff shortage is likely to get worse and could undermine the Albanese government’s promise to lower childcare costs.
More childcare centres are operating without enough qualified early childhood teachers because of a worsening staff shortage that could undermine the federal government’s pledge to make childcare more affordable.

The latest data from the national early childhood education regulator reveals that 8.1 per cent of childcare providers operated with a staffing waiver in the first quarter of 2022 because they could not meet the legal requirement for suitably qualified early childhood teachers on staff. Four years ago, the figure was 3.9 per cent.

A further 3.1 per cent of service providers received a waiver because the physical environment of their centre was not up to standard. Four years ago, that was 2.3 per cent.

Long day care centres, preschools and kindergartens are required by law to have a certain number of qualified early childhood teachers, based on the number of children being educated or cared for.

Centres that cannot meet this staffing obligation need a waiver from the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority.

Jobs data indicates the shortage is likely to get worse, and could affect the sector’s ability to deliver on the Albanese government’s promise to lower childcare costs, which is, in turn, expected to increase demand.

National Skills Commission data also shows that in May, the number of vacancies in early childhood education and care hit a record 6648 positions. The figure has more than doubled in the past three years.

John Cherry, head of advocacy at Goodstart, Australia’s largest not-for-profit early learning provider, said pandemic border closures had deprived the sector of a pipeline of qualified staff from overseas. Most Australian states were also failing to invest enough in building a domestic qualified early learning workforce, he said.

“More services have been struggling with some of the requirements to have a certain percentage of your educators with a diploma qualification because there’s just not enough educators out there,” Cherry said.

He said attrition was also a serious problem for the sector, with many qualified early childhood educators moving on to better paid careers elsewhere.

“The award rate for a teacher in early childhood is $10,000 to $20,000 less than the award rate for a teacher in the government school sector,” Cherry said. “So when you look at those numbers, you rapidly realise why we keep losing people – our rates of pay just aren’t where they need to be.”

Federal Education Minister Jason Clare said finding enough early childhood educators to meet demand was a big challenge.

“We have a shortage of early childhood education and care workers now and this is expected to get bigger,” he said.

Clare said the Albanese government’s fee-free TAFE and additional university places would help to train more early childhood education and care workers.

Early childhood educators are planning to strike on September 7, highlighting low pay and poor conditions. Hundreds of centres around Australia are expected to have to close on that day.

Laureate Professor Marilyn Fleer, the foundation chair of Early Childhood Education and Development at Monash University, said qualified early childhood educators helped to set children up for a better start to school.

“There is such long-standing evidence that shows there is a qualitative difference in how a university-qualified early childhood educator interacts with children,” she said.


UNSW top of the world as a comprehensive research university

I both studied and taught at Uni NSW so I am pleased by this

Australian universities have shone in the the world’s top research ranking system by subject, with UNSW maintaining its run of having the highest number of academic disciplines ranked worldwide.

This year’s Global Rankings of Academic Subjects, produced by the prestigious ShanghaiRanking group, ranked more than 5,000 universities across 96 countries and regions.

For the sixth consecutive year, UNSW appeared in 52 out of 54 subject areas, tying for the greatest number of ranked subjects globally with the University of British Columbia.

The university also had 10 subjects ranked first in Australia, including chemistry, civil engineering, psychology and finance.

“To be up there as the world’s most comprehensive university for six years on the trot is a remarkable achievement,” said UNSW deputy vice-chancellor (research), Nicholas Fisk.

“Such broad firepower across both humanities and social sciences and STEM positions UNSW as a multidisciplinary powerhouse in tackling the planet’s grand challenges.”

Griffith University ranked second on the globe for nursing and third for hospitality and tourism for the third year in a row.

For mining and mineral engineering, the University of Western Australia ranked 4th worldwide.

The University of Melbourne had a number of subjects appear in the world’s top 50, with geography 5th, public health 12th, clinical medicine 14th, and finance 37th.

Monash University ranked 15th worldwide for education, 19th for pharmaceutical sciences, 35th for business administration, and 41st for economics.

The Australian National University was the only Australian institution to rank in the global top 50 in physics, securing 28th place.

In computer science, the University of Technology Sydney was the highest ranked in Australia, taking 17th place globally.

The University of Sydney had a total of 28 research areas ranked among the world’s top 100, with nursing placing 7th, telecommunications engineering 9th, and transportation science and technology at 10th.

“These results reflect the breadth and depth of Sydney research and cements us as one of the world’s top research institutions,” said University of Sydney deputy vice-chancellor (research), Emma Johnston.

Worldwide, Harvard University was ranked the top university for the 11th year in a row, followed by Stanford, Cambridge and MIT.


Convicted union ‘thug’ Scott Vink cosies up with Labor leaders

Labor’s attempts to distance itself from the CFMEU have again been undermined as photographs have emerged of senior ALP figures meeting a militant unionist who was banned for two years from ­entering work sites over what a judge called “sheer thuggery” ­towards non-union workers.

The man, Scott Vink, was known as the union’s Gold Coast “enforcer” and now works for the CFMEU in South Australia as part of the contingent of interstate officials who have taken over the once-moderate SA branch.

Mr Vink attended the March 19 election victory party for SA Premier Peter Malinauskas where they were photographed together celebrating Labor’s win, which was backed by the CFMEU with a $125,000 donation to SA Labor from the union’s John Setka-­controlled Victorian division.

Mr Vink was also photographed with Foreign Minister Penny Wong at the May Day rally in Adelaide just weeks before the May 22 federal election.

He has also been photographed with the newly elected Labor member for the federal seat of Spence, Matt Burnell, who visited the CFMEU’s Adelaide office last month to thank the union for its support at the federal election.

Mr Malinauskas offered a spirited defence of what SA Labor ­insists was a “chance encounter” with Mr Vink who, it says, was one of “dozens” of people seeking selfies with the Premier at Labor’s Adelaide Oval victory party on March 19.

In his first comments about SA Labor’s acceptance of the $125,000 donation from the Victorian CFMEU, Mr Malinauskas said he had no relationship with its state secretary John Setka, who is now also running the SA branch.

A spokesman for Mr Malinauskas also said that he had no knowledge of Mr Vink’s identity nor of his legal history.

“The Premier does not know the man in the photo,” his spokesman said. “Clearly, the Premier condemns any criminality in the workplace and has never met or spoken with John Setka, ever.

“The Premier has a strong track record of working collaboratively with business and unions to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes.”

A spokeswoman for the Foreign Minister said Senator Wong had attended this year’s May Day rally where she was approached by some CFMEU members seeking selfies – but that she also had no idea who Mr Vink was. “She does not know him and has no knowledge of his prior convictions,” the spokeswoman said.

Mr Vink and the CFMEU were fined $57,000 in 2016 over an obscenity-laden confrontation with non-union workers at the Pacific Fair shopping centre ­development on the Gold Coast in 2014.

The trigger for Mr Vink’s rage was his discovery that the non-union members were putting their lunch boxes in a fridge in a staff lunch room which he believed should have been used only by CFMEU members.

When approached by the site’s health and safety manager, Mr Vink launched a tirade, saying workers who were not CFMEU members were not allowed to keep their lunch in site fridges. He then threw their lunch boxes out of the fridge and padlocked the site shed, denying them access.

An audio file of the exchange tendered to the court included Mr Vink saying: “Get out of the shed, you scab – you’re a f..kin’ piece of shit, mate, that’s what you are”, and “What did I just say, mate? Get this shit out of the f..kin’ shed. Don’t make it any worse.”

Federal Court Judge Salvatore Vasta found the behaviour of Mr Vink was designed to reinforce the notion that non-union membership would not be tolerated, and he banned Mr Vink from ­entering work sites for two years.

Justice Vasta said it was “hard to imagine a more blatant single breach” of the Fair Work Act.

“It would be apt to describe the behaviour of (Mr Vink) as sheer thuggery,” Justice Vasta said.

“Such thuggery has no place in the Australian workplace. Contraventions of the FW Act that ­involve such thuggery cannot be tolerated.”

Mr Vink was one of several CFMEU members who campaigned against the Marshall Liberal government ahead of the March 19 SA election by putting up posters with slogans such as “Libs Tell Fibs”.

One poster depicted former premier Steven Marshall as a rat, featuring his head superimposed on a rat’s body with the caption “Marshall doesn’t give a rat’s”.

Mr Vink was also involved in a social media campaign last year against sidelined former SA CFMEU secretary Aaron Cart­ledge, in which Mr Cartledge was labelled a “dog”, a “sellout parasite”, “c..t”, “filth” and “maggot” for working as an industrial law adviser to the building industry.

The money of Australia's "most lawless union" talks loudly with Anthony Albanese's new Labor government, Sky…
Mr Vink and other CFMEU officials were sought out for a meeting at their Adelaide CBD office by the newly elected Labor member for Spence, Matt Burnell, after the election of the Albanese federal Labor government.

“Was great to see the federal MP for Spence Matt Burnell visit the CFMEU SA office yesterday where we congratulated him on his recent successful campaign,” Mr Vink posted on Facebook with an accompanying photograph of the meeting, adding: “A man that will stand up for workers rights and conditions!”

SA opposition Treasury spokesman Matt Cowdrey dismissed Mr Malinauskas’s claims that the photo was innocent.

“The consistent close-knit links between the militant CFMEU and Peter Malinauskas’s Labor Party are growing stronger every day,” Mr Cowdrey told The Australian.

“Peter Malinauskas sat back and watched John Setka’s takeover of the SA CFMEU branch knowing full well it will send construction costs skyrocketing.

“Anthony Albanese managed to draw a line in the sand and distance himself from John Setka but Peter Malinauskas clearly doesn’t have the same standards.

“Instead, Peter Malinauskas happily posed for a photo with a pal from the CFMEU.”


A far-Leftist mental bubble in Victoria

If you want to understand how far left the Australian mainstream media has gone, consider this article in The Age newspaper about newly endorsed Victorian Liberal candidate Moira Deeming.

Ms Deeming has been chosen to replace dumped Liberal MP Bernie Finn in the contest for the upper house Western Metropolitan Region seat in the upcoming state election.

The headline in Friday’s paper read: Liberals choose councillor with controversial trans views.

Really? That sounds outrageous. I wonder what her controversial views were…

Brace yourself.

Deeming once dared to suggest, as a City of Melton councillor, that separate bathrooms should be created for transgender people as a ‘civil compromise’ to the debate on bathrooms.

Separate bathrooms…? Talk about extreme right-wing nut job! (That was sarcasm, obviously.)

But wait, Deeming has even more controversial views.

According to The Age:

The teacher and mother of four was elected to the council on a platform that included: ‘I will never support rates being used to promote radical policies like banning Australia Day, drag queen storytimes for toddlers, or letting biological males who identify as female use female toilets and change rooms.’

According to this article in The Age, is it controversial to support Australia Day, it is controversial to baulk at drag queens (who are adult performers from a highly sexualised industry) reading stories to preschoolers, and it is controversial to think women deserve safe bathrooms away from biological men.

If those positions are considered far right by the Australian media, God help us. They are essentially declaring most Australians ‘far right’.

Of course, readers of The Age disagree with me and agreed wholeheartedly that Deeming is a dangerous radical.

One reader wrote:

‘The Victorian Liberal Party is quite simply unfit to even be considered for government whilst they select individuals like this one. Not sure what percentage of the population share her views.’

Actually, outside of the bubble who read The Age, the overwhelming majority of the population share Deeming’s views.

It is precisely for this reason that Prime Minister Anthony Albanese promised before the election that he was ‘not Woke’.

And it is for this reason that senior Labor MP Bill Shorten moved quickly last week to fix Medicare forms that referred to ‘birthing parent’ rather than mother.

Victorian Liberal leader Matthew Guy might like to stop reading The Age and pay attention to Mr Albanese and Mr Shorten.

Mr Guy, who recently announced a climate policy even further to the left than his left-leaning opponents, used up enormous political capital to dis-endorse outspoken MP Bernie Finn.

Mr Finn’s sin was to voice his stance against abortion publicly.

It seems local Liberal Party members don’t read The Age. They responded by selecting Ms Deeming from 10 candidates to replace Mr Finn in what can only be interpreted as a massive rebuke to Mr Guy who, as it turned out, burned all that political goodwill for nothing.

Returning to the pages of The Age newspaper, readers pointed out the real problem with the state Liberal Party. See if you can detect a common theme here:

‘The out of control Right wing religious fanatics are still in power in the Victorian Liberal Party!’

‘The Liberal Party has chosen a path it thinks will strike a chord in Melbourne’s Bible Belt. It has already forgotten the recent electoral spanking that Gods Chosen One got. Instead of divisive unproductive hate, bigotry, and intolerance it should be uniting us, Victorians prefer it.’

‘Would appear that the Libs have learnt nothing about church and church like involvement in secular politics.’

Those damn Christians seeking to impose their divisive, unproductive, hateful, bigoted, intolerant views on fair-minded Victorians.

Most Victorians, according to readers of The Age, just want to be left alone to erase gendered language, indoctrinate children, and undermine Australia without being bullied by Bible-thumping weirdos.

And if the Victorian Liberal leader has his way, decent Victorians will have no other choice.




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