ACOSS welcomes consultative process on equal pay for community sector workers

The Australian Council of Social Service welcomes today’s Federal Government announcement of a Community Sector Wages Group to assess the potential implications of pay increases for community sector workers across the country.

“This is a positive move by the Government as the process of implementation will be as important as the principle of equal pay itself,” said ACOSS CEO, Dr Cassandra Goldie.

“The outcome we are looking to achieve is full funding by all governments, but how we get to that point is an important question and this process will work towards the answer.

“Through the ASU’s application for an equal remuneration order before Fair Work Australia, there is an historic opportunity to redress the serious pay inequity that means workers doing important work in our communities are paid so poorly.

“But a decision to increase the award rates of pay in this sector will only be effective when the funding that delivers these vital services is increased to ensure decent pay for these workers.

“ACOSS has been calling for a transparent, consistent process of implementation across the country, and the Community Sector Wages Group will play an important part in this.

“As a representative body, the Group will enable the views of stakeholders to be reflected in the decision-making process. We will seek to work through the Group to ensure that the diversity of the sector is reflected. This diversity will have a particular impact on how services are effected by Fair Work’s decision, which will vary depending on whether services are delivered by small, medium or large organisations, where they are located, how they are designed, and their reliance on volunteer or paid staff.

“ACOSS will be looking for avenues of support to the community sector as an industry that contributes so much economically and socially, to ensure it receives adequate and sustainable funding on an ongoing basis and so that this pay disparity does not emerge again.

“ACOSS will be working with our members including the state and territory Councils of Social Service to ensure a nationally consistent approach that incorporates the full diversity of the sector in any processes to implement a decision from Fair Work Australia,” Dr Goldie said.

Media contact: Fernando de Freitas – 0419 626 155