Amongst the range of continued and new financial investments announced when the State Budget was handed down, PeakCare was especially pleased to note the additional funding of $82.4 million over three years from 2018-19, with a further $10 million reprioritised by the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services over two years in 2017-18 and 2018-19, to cater for increases to award rates for social and community services employees arising out of Fair Work Australia’s 2012 Equal Remuneration Order.

A few months ago, some PeakCare Members raised their concerns about increasing wage rise pressures they were now facing as a result of the 2012 Equal Remuneration Order. This sparked a combined effort by the Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS), the Community Services Industry Alliance (CSIA), the Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Protection Peak (QATSICPP), PeakCare and representatives from non-government organisations (UnitingCare, Mercy Community Services and others) to further investigate and ‘get to the bottom of’ a very complex array of factors that had resulted in the emergence of these pressures. This exercise was assisted by Jobs Australia.

Our analysis was presented to the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services and this triggered other exercises in forecasting the impact of the wage rises and discussions with senior departmental officers and other government agencies. These discussions were undertaken in good faith and with enormous good will, the positive results of which have now been made evident in the Budget announcement.

PeakCare congratulates all parties from the government and non-government sectors who were involved in achieving this very pleasing outcome.

Of course, there is more to be done to address the historical disparity that has existed between the salary and employment conditions of government and non-government workers, but this decision made by the Government is certainly a step in the right direction.

Lindsay Wegener
Executive Director, PeakCare