ACOSS and the ACTU have reached agreement on a range of issues discussed at last week’s Jobs and Skills Summit, including achieving and maintaining full employment, removing barriers to women’s participation in the workforce, properly supporting unemployed workers and lifting people out of poverty, and fixing our broken bargaining system to make it simple, fair and accessible for all working people.

The agreement calls for a range of policy changes including:

  • Lifting JobSeeker and related income support payments to pension levels, from $46 to $70 per day
  • Creation of secure, well-paid jobs in the community and care sectors including through adequate funding and expanded access to a fairer and simpler bargaining system, including multi-employer bargaining
  • Replacement of the racist and discriminatory CDP with employment programs designed by First Nations communities which will deliver secure employment and drive economic growth in remote communities

Quotes attributable to ACOSS Acting CEO Edwina MacDonald:

“Achieving and sustaining full employment is key to lifting living standards, investment and productivity and bring people into employment who have so far been frozen out, including the 760,000 people long-term on unemployment payments. History shows we cannot take low unemployment for granted. It should be at the center of our collective efforts in the Summit and beyond.

“Good quality jobs in the care sector with decent pay is crucial for good quality care. ACOSS welcomes constructive dialogue on reform of workplace bargaining that helps bring this about. It is vital that this is underpinned by adequate government funding that responds to need, meets the actual costs of decent pay and quality services, and provides fair and consistent indexation.”

Quotes attributable to ACTU Secretary Sally McManus:

“Workers across the community and disability sectors have been locked out of collective bargaining because it just does not work and was never designed for them. The sector is dependent on Government funding and it is ridiculous to think workers can negotiate at individual workplaces.

“The community and disability industries was much smaller 30 years ago and now they are a large part of our economy employing around two million workers, most of whom are women. They deserve the same right to collective bargaining as other workers and only a modern bargaining system that allows multi-employer bargaining will deliver this.”