PM called on to protect equal pay funding for feminised caring sector

The Councils of Social Service (COSS) Network, representing the community sector across Australia, is calling on the Morrison Government to prevent impending cuts to community services, which would negatively impact the national gender pay gap. The COSS Network has written to the Prime Minister urging him to secure ongoing funding for affected services.

In the shadow of the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO), the community service sector is extremely concerned about the impact that these cuts of approximately $500 million per annum would have on people, families and communities across Australia.

ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie speaking on behalf of each of the COSS Directors from across the nation said: “For years, work performed by workers in the community services sector was undervalued, because ‘caring work’ was considered women’s work, and because our sector is predominantly female. Government funding levels reinforced this undervaluation.

“After years of campaigning by workers, their union(s) and the sector as a whole, in 2012 the Fair Work Commission concluded an Equal Remuneration Order (ERO) was appropriate to address this discrepancy. The sector saw significant increases in wages, and a commitment was forthcoming from the Commonwealth Government to increase funding to pay these higher wages.

“This funding was guaranteed until June 2021 by legislation, and there is currently no budget provision to continue funding beyond that date.”

“This funding is vital to ensure that organisations funded by the Commonwealth can deliver the services that communities, families and individuals rely on.

“It ensures that organisations can deliver quality services to people, families and communities across the country, including some of the most disadvantaged people in our community.

“This funding affects homelessness services, services to families and children, domestic violence services and other community services.

“Without this funding, devastating cuts to services to some of the most vulnerable people in our community are inevitable.

“Cutting this funding would mean that the gains in gender equality achieved as a result of the 2012 equal pay case would be put at great risk, impacting the national gender pay gap.

“We call on the Commonwealth Government to address this issue of fair pay and gender equality and continue to fund the community services that we all rely on.”

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