“This is probably the worst crisis in terms of childcare workforce that we’ve seen in probably a decade in Queensland,” he said.
“We’ve had people leaving, not enough people coming, and disruptions to the university and TAFE system because of COVID, which means our pipeline of new graduates has been disrupted.”
“We’ve also had immigration turned off, so a lot of overseas workers who would have come into the industry are not entering the country.”
The federal education department reports a national shortage of 4,500 teachers.
The Australia Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority estimates the sector could require another 39,000 early years workers plus an extra 9,000 teachers by 2023.
Queensland’s Department of Education defended its ruling on student employment.
In a statement to Park Ridge News the department said early childcare providers have had ample time to comply with the incoming regulation, including two extensions between 2017 and 2019.
Any providers who cannot meet the requirements should apply for a waiver, decided on a case-by-case basis.
Logan MP Linus Power said the Queensland Government’s stance on the issue is about setting a high standard for teaching in early education.
“We want to set standards so that you know that when you drop your child off at a childcare centre that they’re going to have someone who really understands what it takes to develop a child’s brain,” Linus said.
“We want to encourage the industry to actually push people to get that education, especially because we’ve got those programs free at TAFE.
“If there’s workforce issues, that’s something we’ll work through with the industry.”