Victoria’s social service leaders are voicing concern about the uncertain future of a piece of Federal Government funding that means their staff can be paid fairly.
The funding—called the Equal Remuneration Order Supplementation—was put in place almost a decade ago.
It allows organisations to provide fair pay to workers across highly feminised sectors like homelessness, food relief, domestic violence and mental health.
But the Federal Government is yet to commit to the continuation of this critical funding.
A new survey of community service leaders has revealed that without the renewal of this funding, many organisations would have to cut staff or axe services.
The survey was conducted by the UNSW Social Policy Research Centre in collaboration with the Councils of Social Service of Australia, supported by Community Sector Banking. (See attached.)
The survey shows roughly 45% of community service organisations in Victoria currently receive the Equal Remuneration Order Supplementation funding.
Here is a very blunt warning about what will happen if the Federal Government cuts funding to community services.
Job losses. Service reductions. More people homeless…
— VCOSS (@VCOSS) February 26, 2020
VCOSS CEO Emma King said it would be a tragedy if any funding was removed.
“Community service workers deserve fair pay for their important work,” she said.
“Cutting funding for community sector workers means less people to help those who reach out in times of great need.”
“We’re deeply concerned the Federal Government is yet to commit to the continuation of this vital funding.”
Bevan Warner, CEO of homelessness organisation Launch Housing, said discontinuing the funding was “an absurd proposition”.
“We’d have no option but to lay off staff and deliver fewer services,” he said.
“Housing workers are on society’s front line, responding to people with personal safety issues and trauma every day.”
“These highly qualified members of the community are doing this work for $31 per hour. We can’t reduce this amount.”
Australian Council of Social Service CEO Cassandra Goldie, said Australia is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, and people should be able to rely on community services in times of need.
“It’s incredibly concerning that the Federal Government has yet to commit to the continuation of funding put in place to ensure staff are paid fairly in this sector, which is made up of 80% women.”
“In Australia, one of the wealthiest countries in the world, people should be able to rely on community services.”
“In the lead up to International Women’s Day, we’re calling on the Federal Government to commit to continuing to provide to Equal Remuneration Order Supplementation funding, which was established almost a decade ago to provide fair pay in the feminised community service sector,” Dr Goldie said.