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Sunday, July 25, 2021

ACT government pledges $9M for community service workers

The ACT Government has committed to funding jobs withing the community sector once Commonwealth Government funding ceases during 2021.

The Commonwealth Government funding supplemented community sector employees under the Equal Renumeration Order (ERO), which is due to end at the end of the 2020-21 financial year.

ACT Minister for Community Services and Facilities, Suzanne Orr, said $9 million in funding would be committed to prevent significant job losses in the sector. 

“This is a big achievement for the sector who have been out saying ‘we want to see this continue’,” she said.

“They don’t want to have to choose between paying their staff fairly and delivery of the services that we value so much that they put into our community.

“We are making sure the community sector has that certainty at this time when we know they are out there doing so much wonderful work across our community and people impacted by COVID-19.”

Under the 2012 ERO agreement, contracts were due to expire in June 2021 but will be extended until June 2022 with ACT Government funding, to enable a strategic re-design of services.

The ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS) have been pushing for State and Territory commitment on the matter, and CEO Dr Emma Campbell welcomed the announcement today, Tuesday 18 August.

“The community sector has been working overtime during the COVID-19 pandemic to protect members of our community, while keeping essential services running,” she said.

“The last six months has shown just how vital community organisations are and this funding will see these organisations continue their critical work while ensuring that our female dominated workforce is appropriately valued and paid a decent wage.”

Dr Campbell said while the State and Territory funding was a great step, the Federal Government needed to commit funding to Commonwealth funded community services.

“We are very frustrated with the Federal Government. Not only have they ceased funding States and Territories to cover the ERO, but we are also calling on the Federal Government to ensure they continue ERO funding for Commonwealth funded services,” she said.

Ms Orr said the lack of commitment from the Federal Government would not deter the ACT Government to committing to the cause.

“It would be nice if the Federal Government came to the party and actually helped out in this area, but in place of that, we are not going to see services contracted in our community and we aren’t going to see workers paid unfairly,” she said.

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