Media Release by The Hon Julie Collins MP

Where does NSW stand on supporting low-paid workers?

The Minister for Community Services and Minister for the Status of Women, Julie Collins, today called on the O’Farrell State Government to clarify whether it will meet its share of the pay increases for social and community sector (SACS) workers.

The Minister’s call follows comments by a member the O’Farrell Government, NSW Liberal MLC, Catherine Cusack, in an opinion piece in today’s edition of the Sunday Telegraph.

“The Fair Work Australia decision to award increases to sector workers was a historic equal pay ruling,” Ms Collins said.

“Around 120,000 of the 150,000 workers in the sector are women – and they’ve been paid less simply because they are women.”

“The Gillard Government will provide around $3 billion for equal pay for social and community sector workers through to June 2021, as part of the phase in period.

“The Gillard Government now expects state and territory governments to meet their obligations and commit their share of funds.

“Premier O’Farrell has previously said NSW would meet its fair share of the wage increases and I sincerely hope that still is the case following the comments by a member of his Government this morning.

“Negotiations with the States and Territories are underway and we will work with them to determine the costs involving funding through national agreements.

“Employees in our social and community sectors work in some of the most challenging of jobs.

“These employees make a real difference to the lives of some of our most vulnerable community members and they deserve to be properly rewarded for their efforts,” Ms Collins said.