Equal Pay agreement an historic next step towards fair pay for community sector

10 November 2011

Australia’s peak community and social services body has welcomed the agreement between the ASU and the Australian Government in the Equal Pay Case as an historic moment for people who work with some of the most vulnerable members in the community.

The Australian Council of Social Service has hailed the announcement that the Federal Government and unions have agreed to make a joint submission in the case which would see community sector workers get pay rises of between 19 and 42 per cent, a key part of ensuring the long-term sustainability of this historically underpaid sector.

“We congratulate the Prime Minister and Government on this important announcement as a welcome step towards securing equal pay for the workforce that is so vital to providing effective community services across Australia,” said Dr Cassandra Goldie, CEO of ACOSS.

“Millions of people in this country living with mental illness, drug and alcohol problems, insecure housing or homelessness and domestic violence seek the support of community services every day. ACOSS has long advocated for adequate funding to ensure effective, sustainable services with experienced workers to meet these needs.

“The announcement of a joint commitment on pay rates and that the Commonwealth will fully fund its fair share of higher wage costs is a significant breakthrough, as is the Commonwealth’s commitment to work with states and territories towards their share of funding.

“We also understand that there will be support for industry assistance to transition to new arrangements. This will need to include funding for those services that do not rely on government funding but which provide vital services to the community. This is another welcome element of the announcement as there is much work to be done to support services through implementation, both in the resolution of the equal pay case and it’s flow on effects for areas like the modern award.

“There is much work to be done in the months and years ahead, including on how to ensure that adequate funding is delivered in a way which develops and supports quality services for the people and their communities that so rely on them.

“ACOSS has been a strong supporter of the Equal Pay case throughout its life but has always said that the funding must be made available to ensure that an increase in wages – long overdue in this highly feminised workforce – do not lead to job losses or reductions in services. We will continue to work closely with governments, employers and workers to ensure effective sustainable social services in Australia well into the future,” said Dr Goldie.

To arrange an interview call Fernando De Freitas at ACOSS: 0419 626 155

See more on Equal Pay Campaign: http://acoss.wpengine.com/equalpay