By CELA on 13 May, 2024

Ahead of tonight’s budget, Treasurer Jim Chalmers, has confirmed that the Federal Budget will include a multi-billion dollar provision towards wage increases for early childhood educators.  

Community Early Learning Australia (CELA) and Community Child Care Association (CCC), the peak bodies who are negotiating this historic deal on behalf of small and community early education providers, have welcomed the Treasurer’s announcement.

This announcement shows that the Federal Government recognises the value of early educators and teachers to Australia’s families and communities.

It's critical progress towards delivering professional pay without increasing out-of-pocket costs for families, once the new multi-employer agreement is finalised.

The Secure Jobs, Better Pay laws made multi-employer bargaining possible, allowing many community and small providers to negotiate competitive wages and conditions for their staff for the first time.

The Federal Government’s investment removes another barrier to women’s economic equality and workforce participation by helping to grow quality early education services.

Once finalised, the new agreement will help to unlock access to early education for families by reducing critical staff shortages. Community and small services will open new places because they can attract and keep qualified staff by offering professional wages.

This funding commitment is a significant step towards creating a multi-employer agreement that properly values early educators and teachers.

We are pleased to see the Federal Government backing this process by boosting early education wages. This will be a game changer for the long day care sector, " said Michele Carnegie, CELA CEO. "We look forward to finalising the new multi-employer agreement so community and small providers can attract the qualified staff they need.

Long day care providers: Register your interest

If you’re a long day care provider click below to register to be the first to find out how your service can benefit

Register now

NSW Preschools: Register your interest

If you're a NSW preschool provider, register your interest by clicking the below button. 

Register now

What is multi-employer bargaining?

Multi-Employer Bargaining is a process where employers and employees can pool their resources to make one workplace agreement (an agreement which sets out wages and conditions for all staff) which covers multiple services. This removes the barriers many community managed services face to make workplace agreements including, time, cost and access to expertise. 

In November 2022, new laws were passed to make it easier for government funded sectors like ECEC to make multi-employer agreements, but also to make these agreements with the government at the table. Having the government at the table, as the primary funder of the sector, means we have the chance to improve wages and conditions without increasing costs to families. 

Paying minimum wage does not reflect the value, qualifications and responsibilities of the early education and care workforce. Multi-employer bargaining is our best opportunity to improve wages and solve staffing shortages without increasing costs to families.

 Here is a quick recap on the process so far: 

  • Nov 2022: new multi-employer bargaining laws passed. 
  • Jan- March 2023: ECEC sector met together to decide how to use the laws to fix the workforce crisis. 
  • June: CELA, along with other ECEC peak bodies and early education unions apply to Fair Work Commission for permission to negotiate under the new laws. 
  • August: Fair Work Commission hears the case to allow the multi-employer bargaining process to start. 
  • September: Fair Work Commission grants permission for the bargaining process to start. 
  • October – negotiations commence. 
  • December – Joint ECEC sector updates provided by bargaining parties. 
  • January 2024 and ongoing – negotiations continue. 

About CELA

Community Early Learning Australia is a not for profit organisation with a focus on amplifying the value of early learning for every child across Australia - representing our members and uniting our sector as a force for quality education and care.



Jody Parker
Posted on 20 May, 2024
I received a follow up email about registering my interest in the potential pay increases and have somehow deleted it. Could I possibly get it sent again? Thanks Jodo
Posted on 17 May, 2024
Can u send a union delegate to explain the aggrement and benefits.
Caroline Poole
Posted on 17 May, 2024
We provide before and after school care in Mandurah and are interested in finding out more. Thanks.
Georgina Brito
Posted on 15 May, 2024
Thank you for this article. I shared it my team and they were hopeful. But this morning on the news, many of my colleagues were curious that nothing was announced about Early Childhood Education. On the ABC News it actually said that Childcare received nothing. We are unsure of what all this means. I understand that there are negotiations but the article sounded like there was going to be an announcement of something substantial in the near future for ECT and Educators.
Posted on 15 May, 2024
What about ece teachers coming to australua to work in day care , we wish to get pr and families to come over even over the age of 45
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