Ahead of International Women’s Day, ACOSS is calling on the Federal Government to commit to renewing funding for the feminised community service sector, which is made up of 80 per cent women.
The funding, called Equal Remuneration Order Supplementation, was put in place almost a decade ago to ensure workers in this sector were fairly paid, after long being undervalued with low wages for their caring work. The Federal Government funding, which amounts to about $500 million nationally per year, would expire next year without a commitment for it be continued.
Australian Council of Social Service CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said:
“The Federal Government is at risk of widening the gender pay gap.
“Our sector helps people in great need, such as when they’re escaping domestic violence, facing homelessness and or living in poverty.
“It’s important work and deserves to be fairly paid. The old, sexist view that caring work is women’s work and therefore does not need to be paid properly must not be allowed to reemerge.
“But the Federal Government is yet to commit to the continuation of funding put in place to ensure staff can be fairly paid in this crucial and highly feminised sector.
“Not only would workers be impacted but so would the many women they help with services, including emergency accommodation, food relief and domestic violence services.
“The victims and survivors of domestic violence are overwhelmingly women. Women are also much more likely to be single parents and, in our wealthy country, one in three single parent families live in poverty. Older women are the fastest growing group facing homelessness and most older people on Newstart are women.
“In the lead up to International Women’s Day, we’re calling on the Federal Government to commit to continue funding this equal pay, which was established almost a decade ago to provide fair pay in the feminised community service sector,” Dr Goldie said.