Federal government steps up on community services wages
UnitingCare Australia has welcomed the Australian Government’s commitment to fund its share of the long-overdue increase in community services wages which are subject to the pay equity case currently before Fair Work Australia.
Speaking shortly after the Prime Minister’s announcement in Sydney on November 10, National Director Lin Hatfield Dodds said staff must be paid adequately for the essential work they do.
“People who work in community services are highly valued by those they care for, by families, communities and by their employers. For too long their wages have not matched the value of their contribution,” Ms Hatfield Dodds said.
“The Government has shown real leadership on this issue and today’s announcement is cause for optimism.
“Funding this important claim must not come at the expense of vital social services.
“The Federal Government’s commitment to meeting its share of its funding responsibility is a watershed moment.
“States and Territories must now step up to pay their share.
“All governments must work with the sector to find sufficient funds to ensure vital social services can continue.
“The proposed commencement date of December 1 2012 and the longer lead time for full implementation means the sector can plan for the increase in costs.
“UnitingCare employs 35,000 staff nationally or one in seven community sector workers.
“We have been working with the Federal Government’s Working Group to ensure the pay rise can be delivered without cutting vital social services.
“We will work with all stakeholders in the months ahead to ensure those increases are adequately and equitably funded so vulnerable and disadvantaged Australians get access to the services they need,” Ms Hatfield Dodds said.
The UnitingCare network provides social services to over two million people each year in 1,300 sites in remote, rural and metropolitan Australia. UnitingCare has 35,000 staff and 24,000 volunteers.