The Greens say the Government could boost the number of highly-skilled childcare workers by offering to pay their university debt.
Under the Government's current scheme, early childcare graduates who work in rural areas, Indigenous communities and disadvantaged suburbs are eligible to have their debt waived by up to $3,488 per year.
But Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young says the scheme needs to be expanded to combat a staffing shortage.
She says graduates should receive a waiver of a year's debt for every year they work full-time in a long day care centre.
"I'll be pushing that this scheme is one of the issues that the Government considers taking up in their budget in May because getting started on this on July 1 would be the best way to start to tackle the shortage of skilled workers in our childcare centres," she said.
Senator Hanson-Young says Treasury estimates the plan would cost $2.5 million in its first year and keep around 400 teachers in long day care.
She says the scheme is needed to meet new quality standards in childcare centres.
"On January 1 next year there is going to need to be more skilled workers, skilled teachers in our centres," she said.
"And the only way we're going to meet that benchmark is by up-skilling the current staff that are there and encourage the next generation of workers into the sector."