Northern Rivers Social Development Council has welcomed Fair Work Australia’s decision to grant significant increases to community sector workers.
The decision in the long running Equal Remuneration Case recognises that 150,000 community service workers around Australia are currently not fairly paid for the work that they do. The decision grants increases of between 18 per cent and 41 per cent.
According to Brett Paradise, NRSDC Manager Delivery and Client Services, the decision supports the claims of workers in vital services around the region for a well-deserved pay increase.
But he also warns that the NSW government will now need to find the money to cover the increases or in the long run serivces will have to be cut. And he claims the government is dragging its heels.
‘Workers in the community sector provide vital support in disability, aged care, youth, homelessness, family and mental health services. Their work is particularly important in the Northern Rivers where we have greater numbers of older people, people with disability and homeless people than other regions.’ Mr Paradise said.
‘The decision is an importance step in addressing the past undervaluing of community services. Many of these workers earn a third less than their counterparts in local and state government.’ Mr Paradise said.
‘The decision will help to ensure that our region has viable, quality community services and can retain skilled professional staff to provide the support our community needs.’
‘Fair Work Australia has allowed a very generous eight year phase-in period for the increases, so the cost to government is manageable. The commonwealth has already committed to fund the increase, but so far the NSW government has refused to do so. A large number of community services in the region are funded by the NSW government. We need them to come to the party.’ Mr Paradise said.
‘If the NSW government does not fully fund pay increases, services will need to be cut and the most vulnerable in our community will suffer.’ Mr Paradise said.