Today is Equal Pay Day! It’s a day that reminds me of the significance of the Equal Remuneration Order (ERO) for social and community services sector equal pay case back in 2012. It was seen as a significant advance for equal pay for women. The ALP, who was in power at that time, welcomed the Fair Work Commission’s ERO decision and committed to $2.1 Billion in funding to pay its share of the wage increase granted by FWA.
Only recently, FRSA was one of a number of organisations actively campaigning and successfully securing an increase in baseline funding to replace that funding (SaCS Supplementation) in an ongoing way for Family and Relationship Services.
Today, faced with a new decision handed down by the Fair Work Commission and a pay increase of 4.6% under the Award, we are working concertedly to ensure that the Commonwealth Government – led now by the ALP – commits to funding this increase so that we are able to meet the needs of children, families and communities in Australia. It is vital that funding keeps pace with the wages costs to ensure we do not undo the significant achievements that were made as a result of the 2012 ERO. Messaging from the Government is at this point in time positive but still lacking a firm commitment so, our efforts on this front continue. We are also grateful to ACOSS and their strong leadership in these endeavours. ACOSS is attempting to gain some pretty quick feedback on historical indexation rates paid for Commonwealth funded programs via THIS SURVEY and if you can assist I know your efforts will be gratefully received.
Last week, we kicked off with the first of the Communities of Practice groups for the DSS funded programs within the Families and Children Activity. Interest in participating in the Communities of practice has been strong and we have ended up establishing more than one Community of Practice Group for most program areas. Last week we ran a total of seven groups across three program areas: Communities for Children, Children and Parenting Support, and Family Mental Health Support Services. It is always an enriching experience talking with program managers and practitioners across the sector and we hope that these Community of Practice discussions will bring great value to all who participate and to their organisations. I am delighted to introduce you to our newest staff member, Sandra Rabjohns, whose role is dedicated to the Communities of Practice. You can learn a little more about Sandra below. We have also heard the call from our members funded by the AGD to deliver family law services who are also keen to see Communities of Practice operational in the family law space.
FRSA has been fielding a few calls from members in the last fortnight looking for slides etc from the FRSA Conference. In case you missed it, the conference website is now fully up-to-date with presentation slides (that we have permission to publish). In addition, there are some fabulous photos taken at the event – which we have also posted on the website. These are small file sizes, otherwise the website would grind to a halt, so, if any attendees are keen to access larger file sizes for printing or reproduction purposes, please contact Vanessa Lam our Communications Officer – firstname.lastname@example.org.