A Budget that puts issues facing working women at the forefront will have lasting beneficial effects, as long as the intended benefits also flow to workforces dominated by female workers, United Workers Union said today.
“United Workers Union applauds the Albanese Labor Government’s commitment that working women will see substantial improvements from this Budget,” United Workers Union National President Jo Schofield said today.
“The Federal Government’s embrace of policy that benefits working women – including the commitment to 26 weeks of paid parental leave – is a marked contrast to the blokey neglect women suffered for years at the hands of the Coalition.
“In the predominantly-female aged care sector, the Federal Government is also leading the way with measures that make a meaningful difference to aged care workers’ lives by addressing understaffing and promising to lift workers’ pay.
“However United Workers Union members in other female-dominated care industries will want to understand how today’s announcements will benefit them in sectors including early childhood education and care and disability support.
“In these sectors it’s not just about lowering fees for those gaining the service – it’s also essential that those workforces are looked after so they can offer the quality services expected by the community.”
Ms Schofield also welcomed the Federal Government’s overhaul of industrial relations laws, including commitments to address inequities and pay gaps facing predominantly female industries.
“We have seen wages falling behind the cost of living – not just now as inflation surges but over the last decade,” Ms Schofield said.
“It makes sense to address workplace laws that have not kept up with the times.”
In early childhood education and care:
United Workers Union acknowledges $4.7 billion in funding over four years that addresses the costs faced by working Australian families.
“We recognise early childhood education and care funding helps provide access to working families that would otherwise miss out on places,” Helen Gibbons, United Workers Union early childhood director, said today.
“However we caution that an approach simply addressing parents’ costs can’t work without addressing the workforce crisis that is seeing thousands of educators leaving the sector for better-paying jobs.
“Early childhood educators need to be better paid after years of wage stagnation, and we will continue to talk to employers and the Federal Government about measures that will lift workers’ wages.”
In aged care:
United Workers Union welcomes the $2.5 billion in funding over four years to fund increased care time for aged care residents and address understaffing.
“The continued commitment to lift care-time to 215 minutes by October 2024 addresses issues with understaffing that have plagued aged care for years,” Carolyn Smith, United Workers Union aged care director, said today.
“That commitment plus the Federal Government’s promise to fund the aged care work value case currently before the Fair Work Commission gives us some confidence the aged care sector is finally on a path to offering the quality Australia’s long-suffering aged care residents deserve.”
In disability support:
United Workers Union sees continued funding for the National Disability Insurance Scheme as vital to the sustainability of providing services to people living with disabilities.
“As well as a stable, well-funded NDIS, the scheme depends on workers who are committed to improving the lives of participants,” Demi Pnevmatikos, United Workers Union public sector director, said today.
“We know disability support workers are stressed out, understaffed, working multiple jobs and often working unpaid hours.
“These workers need the industry settings – including pay and job security – that allow them to provide the quality support that NDIS participants deserve.”