Social Inclusion Week chance for Government to commit to equal pay for low paid workers

The Australian Council of Social Service is calling on the Federal Government to use Social Inclusion Week to commit to equal pay for Australia’s low paid workers in the community and disabilities sector, around 85% of whom are women.

The Commonwealth last week appeared to walk away from its election support of the Fair Work Australia case that would ensure decent pay for community workers.

“There’s no doubt the sector was disappointed by the arguments put forward by the Government in its submission to the Fair Work Australia test case. They clearly failed to accept responsibility for the routine underfunding of the sector that has led to the significant pay disparity for low paid workers,” said ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie.

“Minister Tanya Plibersek said in a media release to mark the beginning of Social Inclusion Week that her Government is working to strengthen the not-for-profit sector. One key way to achieve this is to address pay inequity.”

“The Commonwealth needs to not only say it supports equal pay for community workers but follow through with a commitment to fund its share of an increase in order to achieve equity.

“If the large disparity remains many services simply will not be able to continue because community organisations, that provide support to some of the most disadvantaged people, cannot attract and retain the vital staff they need.

“ACOSS welcomed Labor’s election pledge to support the non-profit sector by establishing an Office for the Non-Profit Sector, a scoping study for a national non-profit regulator and reducing red tape on contracts. However, as important as these directions are, they can only have limited potential as long as services contracted by governments continue to be routinely underfunded and problems like pay disparity go unaddressed.

“This is fundamentally about justice for workers receiving less for exactly the same work. It is also about the sustainability of this crucial sector, which more Australians will come to depend on with our aging population.”

Media Contact: Fernando de Freitas 0419 626 155

For more information on Social Inclusion Week: http://socialinclusionweek.ning.com/

More information on the equal pay case: http://acoss.wpengine.com/equalpay