QCOSS media release: Survey shows Queensland community services and workers at risk from funding uncertainty

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Queensland community service leaders are concerned the federal government has yet to commit to the continuation of funding put in place to ensure staff can be fairly paid. The community service sector provides homelessness, food relief, mental health, domestic violence and many other community services.

A survey of community service sector leaders has found that without the renewal of the Equal Remuneration Order Supplementation (ERO) funding, community service organisations would be forced to reduce staff or services.

The survey shows 40 per cent of community sector services in Queensland currently receive ERO funding.

QCOSS CEO Ms Aimee McVeigh says community workers deserve fair pay.

“Queensland community service workers are integral to ensuring our communities are characterised by equality, opportunity and wellbeing for all. They provide social work, financial counselling, food relief, youth services and more.

“We’re concerned the federal government is yet to commit to the continuation of ERO funding.”

The funding was put in place almost a decade ago to provide fair pay in the sector. As the sector is made up of 80 per cent women, funding cuts would disproportionately effect women.

One Queensland community sector leader who responded to the survey was concerned that the termination of ERO supplementation would adversely impact service delivery.

“It will force us to reduce direct service delivery and reduce operational costs for the organisation, placing more pressure on us as a whole and therefore reduce what we deliver.” (CEO, QLD service)

CEO of the Australian Council of Social Service, Cassandra Goldie says people in Australia, being one of the wealthiest countries in the world, should be able to rely on community services in times of need.

“Without adequate funding, community services can’t keep up with demand and people are not getting the help they desperately need, such as domestic violence, affordable housing or mental health services.

“In the lead up to International Women’s Day, we’re calling on the Government to commit to continuing to provide to Equal Remuneration Order Supplementation funding, which was established almost a decade ago to provide fair pay in the feminised community service sector,” Dr Goldie said.

The survey was conducted by the Social Policy Research Centre at UNSW Sydney in collaboration with the Councils of Social Service of Australia, supported by Community Sector Banking.

#fairfunding4fairpay

For 60 years, QCOSS has been a leading force for social change. We believe that every person in Queensland – regardless of where they come from, who they pray to, their gender, who they love, how or where they live – deserves to live a life of equality, opportunity and wellbeing.

27 February 2020