Media Release by The Hon Julie Collins MP

New equal pay era begins for community sector workers

Joint Media Release with:

  • Prime Minister Julia Gillard

Around 150,000 social and community sector workers across Australia are set to benefit from historic equal pay rises that take effect from today (December 1).

Today’s pay rises are the first of nine increases over the next eight years that will lift salaries for workers in this sector by between 23 and 45 per cent.

This is a significant advance for equal pay for women. Around 80 per cent of these workers are women and many of them are low paid simply because they are women.

From the beginning, the Gillard Government recognised the significant contribution SACS workers make to caring for those who most need our help in our community.

These important roles include counselling families in crisis, running homeless shelters and working with victims of domestic violence or sexual assault.

We are proud to have supported this case being brought forward to the independent umpire, through our introduction of the Fair Work Act, and we supported workers’ ability to seek gender equity in rates of pay.

The Gillard Government will meet its share of these historic pay increases.

Throughout November, around 4,400 social and community services organisations across Australia were sent letters detailing the Government’s offer towards the pay increases for their workers.

Payments have begun to flow to those organisations that have accepted offers and will continue throughout December.

We have set aside $2.8 billion in the Social and Community Services Pay Equity Special Account, to ensure we meet our share.

The Government’s contribution is fully funded and accounted for in the Budget.

We are working cooperatively with all State and Territory governments to ensure the historic Fair Work Australia decision is fully implemented and fully funded for the benefit of workers in the sector.

The latest information on the implementation process is available at: