Release type: Media Release

Date:

Equal pay group’s first meeting: Communiqué

Ministers:

Senator the Hon Jacinta Collins
Parliamentary Secretary for School Education and Workplace Relations

Members of the new national equal pay group met for the first time today and released a joint communiqué stating their commitment to delivering equal pay across Australia.

Parliamentary Secretary for Workplace Relations Senator Jacinta Collins who chairs the group, said the meeting was constructive and members discussed the implications of the historic equal pay test case.

“The role of the Community Sector Wages Group is to examine how to manage the potential implications of pay increases which may be awarded by Fair Work Australia,” Senator Collins said.

“The Gillard Government is committed to supporting a sustainable and effective social and community services sector.

“The group discussed how the sector may be affected by cost pressures and subsequent funding implications that may flow from the wage case.”

In its decision handed down last month, the full bench of Fair Work Australia acknowledged that community workers are undervalued and that, in part, this is a result of the work being traditionally associated exclusively with women.

The ruling was the first since the Government removed the historical barriers to pay equity claims in the federal jurisdiction that required an applicant to prove discrimination as a prerequisite to an equal pay claim.

Fair Work Australia has sought more information from employers, unions and governments before making a final decision on the actual rates to be applied.

Fair Work Australia has listed futher hearing dates in August.

The joint communiqué released by the group stated:

The 19-member group today met for the first time and expressed its commitment to closing the gender pay gap in Australia.

The group has the following functions. It will:

  • Conduct a mapping exercise to identify existing research and analysis undertaken in the SACS sector that may be of assistance in assessing the potential implications of the case;
  • Share information about the funding arrangements in the SACS sector and how service providers may be affected by potential wage cost pressures arising from the case;
  • Share information about the likely impact of the case on costs borne by SACS service providers;
  • Identify possible strategies for addressing any implications flowing from the case;
  • Work towards a whole of government approach to identify relevant agreed principles.
Chair Senator Jacinta Collins
Commonwealth Ms Liza Carroll, Deputy Secretary, Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs
New South Wales Mr Jim Moore, Chief Executive, Ageing, Disability and Home Care and A/Director General, NSW Department of Family and Community Services
Victoria Mr Jim Higgins, Acting Executive Director, Corporate Services, Department of Human Services
Queensland Ms Bette Kill, Associate Director-General, Strategy, Policy, Programs and Performance, Department of Communities
South Australia Ms Natalie Hamood, Director Human Resources, Department for Families and Communities
Western Australia Not nominating a member
Tasmania TBA
Australian Capital Territory Ms Bronwyn Overton-Clark, Executive Director, Policy and Organisational Services, Community Services Directorate
Northern Territory TBA
Australian Council of Social Services Ms Cassandra Goldie, Chief Executive Officer
UnitingCare Ms Lin Hatfield Dodds, National Director
Centacare Brisbane Mr Peter Selwood, Executive Director
National Disability Services Mr Patrick Maher, Chief Operating Officer
Jobs Australia Mr David Thompson, Chief Executive Officer
Australian Council of Trade Unions Ms Ged Kearney, President
Australian Services Union National Ms Linda White, Assistant National Secretary
Australian Services Union NSW Mr Michael Flinn, Deputy Branch Secretary
United Voice Ms Sue Lines, National Assistant Secretary
Health Services Union Mr Marco Bolano, Deputy General Secretary