Media Release by The Hon Julie Collins MP

New offers to States on funding SACS equal pay rises

The Australian Government has today sent letters to State and Territory Governments detailing final offers of the Commonwealth’s funding share of the increases for Social and Community Services (SACS) workers awarded in Fair Work Australia’s equal pay case last year.

The Australian Government has set aside around $3 billion to meet its share of these historic pay increases.

Around 150,000 social and community sector workers across Australia will receive increases between 23 and 45 per cent in nine stages over eight years. Workers began receiving the first stage of increases in December 2012.

The Minister for Community Services, Julie Collins, said the Australian Government is offering the States more than $1.4 billion as its share of SACS funding for programs under Commonwealth-State Agreements.

“We have always said we would pay our fair share and have addressed concerns raised by states about the original funding offers,” Ms Collins said.

“We have looked at the evidence they provided on their costings and we have improved our original offers by more than $300 million – from $1.1 billion to over $1.4 billion.

“We have increased offers to states that have demonstrated that our original offer was not an accurate reflection of the wages increase.

“We urge state and territory governments to sign up to this deal and get the funding to the organisations that need it now.

“The Commonwealth is doing its part in ensuring that social and community sector workers across Australia receive the pay increases awarded in the equal pay case.

“Now it’s up to the states and territories to support this important sector. That is why we have requested they reply before 1 March 2013.

“The organisations directly funded by the Australian Government have accepted our offers and have been receiving their supplementation since last December.

“SACS workers make an important contribution to caring for those who most need our help in our community, including families in crisis, people vulnerable to homelessness and victims of domestic violence or sexual assault,” Ms Collins said.

“This is a significant advance for equal pay for women – 120,000 of the 150,000 SACS workers are women and many of them are low paid simply because they are women.”