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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 13 Hansard (20 November) . . Page.. 3844 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

As Ms Dundas said, you can pop into the environment centre or the Griffin Centre-and there are others I could list. The sentiments expressed here today do not fit with the reality. For the record, I will read part of the media release ACTCOSS put out on 18 November in support of this motion. Basically, Daniel Stubbs, from ACTCOSS, supported the Greens for the motion, saying that:

... The motion calls on the Government to support the sector in the Budget process by improving accommodation for community organisations, ensuring organisations are adequately staffed to undertake the work they do and bring wages and conditions in the sector closer to those in Government service provider agencies.

Mr Stanhope seemed to be making a distinction between your government's role as employer or funder. If my words were not clear, I am sure the intention was. This is obviously about enabling community organisations to pay appropriate wages and, as the funder, the government has a responsibility to do that.

Mr Stubbs also, in the media release, says:

The increase in funding provided by the Government to cover the Social and Community Services (SACS) Award increase of July 2001 has only just allowed many community service providers to keep their heads above water. A viable and sustainable community sector needs to be funded adequately to allow the development of progressive services, which allow people to thrive and reach their potential rather than just survive.

Ten days ago, ACTCOSS and the Australian Services Union held a forum to discuss the wage crisis facing the sector. Participants stated that, following the recent Australian Industrial Relations Commission's ruling, services are not able to pay appropriate award rates for after hours work or call-outs. Organisations relying on workers on SACS levels 1 to 4 are having to provide pay rises for which they do not have the money. Some organisations may have to pay SACS levels 5 to 8 workers the lowest rates allowable, to help control their budgets. Current SACS rates are less competitive than when they were introduced, making the sector less attractive for employees.

Mr Stubbs explained:

With the recent Industrial Relations Commission's decision to freeze senior rates of pay, the sector will become even less able to attract high quality workers.

Mr Stubbs also explained:

Community groups are experiencing other cost pressures, including:

rising superannuation contributions

increasing insurance costs (eg public liability and workers compensation)

inadequate and deteriorating accommodation

lack of appropriate indexation in the payments they receive from Government for many services

increasing data reporting requirements; and

increasing costs associated with meeting new requirements for organisations to prove themselves against quality standards.

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