Media Release by The Hon Julie Collins MP

ACT accepts offer for SACS workers’ pay rises

Joint Media Release with:

  • Andrew Barr MLA
    Deputy Chief Minister
    Minister for Economic Development
    Minister for Sport and Recreation
    Minister for Tourism and Events

The Australian Capital Territory today reached an agreement with the Australian Government on funding the historic pay increases already flowing to the territory’s Social and Community Services (SACS) workers.

The Federal Minister for Community Services, Julie Collins, said she was pleased the ACT Government had accepted the Commonwealth’s offer of $25 million over the nine year phase-in period to 2020-21.

“The ACT Government was quick to commit its support to the equal pay case back in 2011 so it is particularly pleasing that it is also leading the way by becoming the second state or territory to sign up to this historic reform,” Ms Collins said.

“As a result of the agreement, SACS workers in the ACT – like their counterparts in South Australia – will have the security of knowing their employers are being supported to deliver these pay rises.

“The agreement represents the Commonwealth’s fair share of the pay rises and includes conditions focused on guaranteeing these funds will be used to help the sector meet the costs of the pay increases.”

The ACT Minister for Community Services, Andrew Barr, also welcomed the offer.

“We are pleased to have negotiated this arrangement with the Commonwealth and to be partners in delivering support payments to the organisations that deliver vital services to the most disadvantaged Canberrans,” Mr Barr said.

“Under the agreement, the ACT Government will provide $32 million over nine years to support our 4000 community sector workers, bringing the total funding of our two governments to $57 million.

“Since December 2012, we have already paid about half a million dollars to 37 organisations and made a significant difference to our community sector workers, a high percentage of whom are women.

“We know the sector is predominantly made up of female workers who have been under-remunerated for too long and we do not accept that gender should play any part in decisions about salary – that’s one of the key reasons we were strong in our early support for the equal remuneration case.”

Ms Collins said the case was a significant advance for equal pay for women.

“It’s a long overdue victory for the community sector with as many as 120,000 of the 150,000 SACS workers across the nation being female,” Ms Collins said.

“These wage increases will lift salaries for workers in the sector by between 23 and 45 per cent in nine stages over eight years.”

Ms Collins said the Gillard Government is committed to meeting its share of the historic pay increases.

“We have set aside close to $3 billion to meet our obligations to the SACS sector,” Ms Collins said.

“Our share of SACS funding for programs under Commonwealth-State Agreements has risen from $1.1 billion to more than $1.4 billion with the remaining $1.6 billion allocated to community sector providers.

“Negotiations with other state and territory governments are continuing and I encourage them to follow the lead of the ACT and South Australia.”