Female community workers in jeopardy as funding cuts loom

Vulnerable women and female community workers in jeopardy as funding cuts loom


Hundreds of community sector jobs are on the line, as the federal government waits to confirm the continuation of critical funding.

The Australian Services Union today, warns that 12,000 jobs – including in emergency relief, homelessness, and domestic violence services – could be axed next year if the Morrison Government fails to replenish funds that were established by the Gillard government in 2012 to support greater pay equity and transparency.

Leaning on advice from economist, Dr Jim Stanford, the paper examines the consequences of dropping such ‘supplemental funding’ and determines that Australia’s gender pay gap– now at 14 percent– will widen further as thousands of jobs are cut from the community service sector– currently dominated by women.

“The historic pay equity decision of 2012 has been the driving force tightening Australia’s gender pay gap for the past decade,” said ASU NSW Secretary, Natalie Lang.

“All that progress would be thrown into reverse if the government doesn’t come through in the budget.”

The impact on regional Australia would be even more severe, as community services continue to be stretched tight in the wake of the pandemic and recession– something ASU NSW describes as “just the beginning”.

“As the long term economic impacts of this recession set in we’re going to need every community sector worker we have to stop our society from tearing at the seams,” says Lang.

Any cuts to community services during this period would be “unfathomable” according to Lang, but why then, is the federal government keeping the sector in suspense?

“Topping up this supplemental funding should be the easiest decision the Morrison Government gets to make this year,” she says.

“The ASU is calling on Social Services Minister Anne Ruston to step up and save 12,000 community sector workers – mostly women – from being sacked in the middle of a recession when they are desperately needed.”

Anne Ruston told Fairfax she was consulting the sector about what to do with the special funding from next year.

“I have made a commitment to work with the sector on how to … best ensure the long-term sustainability of our social services system in a way that delivers real and long-lasting benefits for those who need its support,” she said.

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