The Victorian Government must reconsider its decision to discontinue funding to Australia’s only service providing free advice and legal representation on workplace issues.

JobWatch provides an invaluable service to about 25,000 Victorian workers every year in cases where their workplace rights have been abused, said ACTU President Ged Kearney.

The service is set to close at the end of June after the Baillieu Government discontinued funding in the Victorian Budget this week.

“JobWatch has been there for Victorian workers for 30 years,” Ms Kearney said.

“It provides incredible support to workers by defending the rights at work of about 25,000 people a year when they are dismissed unfairly, discriminated against, bullied and harassed or underpaid.

“It has been funded for 30 years by both Labor and Coalition Governments in Victoria, and for the Baillieu Government to this funding, which is only $800,000 a year in a $45 billion Budget, smacks of a blatant anti-worker agenda.

“Once again, the Baillieu Government is showing its true colours as having no empathy for or understanding of working people.

“The people who use the services of JobWatch have nowhere else to go.

“They cannot afford to pay a lawyer, and for various reasons do not have union representation.

“JobWatch has a great record of not only achieving justice for people whose workplace rights have been trampled, but of advocating for reforms to workplace laws and equity for all Victorian workers.

“This is a heartless decision by the Baillieu Government that will be a serious blow to vulnerable Victorian workers who will have nowhere to go for free advice and confidential information and representation.

“The Baillieu Government must reverse this ill-considered decision.”