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The Real Stories behind Paying for Pay Equity

At the start of this week, PeakCare Queensland wrote to our Member Agencies seeking to find out the “real stories behind paying for pay equity” so that we can properly represent these stories in our advocacy on their behalf and on behalf of the children, young people and families who are entitled to receive high quality services.

Amidst the confusion of facts and figures being contended with by organisations as they have been attempting to examine the implications of recent decisions made about the delivery of pay equity to our sector employees, PeakCare was keen to ensure that the actual hardships and dilemmas being caused to many of our Member Agencies and the children, young people and families who are the recipients of their services, were being accurately conveyed and made known to governments, the media and the general public.

Organisations were invited to email or tell us:

  • the real stories of small community-based organisations facing the heart-breaking struggle of determining whether or not it is viable for them to continue their services
  • the real stories of larger organisations faced with making decisions about which services to reduce or close down
  • the real stories of people considering the prospect of finding themselves without a job
  • the real stories of local communities, volunteers and fund-raisers dealing with the prospect of further fund-raising after having had to deal with the impact of the global financial crisis and a season of natural disasters, and
  • very importantly, the real stories of children, young people and families likely to experience the services they have been accessing services withdrawn from them.

Many of the stories we have been told are distressing.  Many have been about the dilemmas caused to organisations that have campaigned strongly for, and remain committed to, pay equity whilst dealing with the realities of its implementation.  With the permission of those who have come forward, we will be re-counting these stories as comments to this post.

Pleasingly, many organisations that have not been impacted by the recent pay equity decisions have also clearly stated their desire to support other organisations – smaller ones in particular – that have already been or may continue to be adversely affected.  These organisations are to be applauded for their sense of loyalty and commitment to the broader community service sector.

As PeakCare Queensland continues to play our part in representing the interests of our Member Agencies during the advocacy and liaison we undertake with QCOSS, other peak bodies and governments in dealing with the unquestionable rights of our sector employees to pay equity and the need for full-Government funding, your “real stories” remain important.

You may wish to add comments to this post that tells a “real story” from the perspective of your organisation’s experience or continue to email or phone Vanessa Walker, the PeakCare project officer who is collecting and collating these stories.

PeakCare Queensland respects that organisations will have a range of viewpoints and opinions about matters that are contentious and we view the capacity of our sector for engaging in honest, open and respectful debate as a strength.

My sincere thanks are extended to those organisations and individuals who have already contacted Vanessa (Phone 3368 1050; Email and I encourage others to come forward to tell their stories too.

Lindsay Wegener

Executive Director – Peakcare Queensland

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Lindsay Wegener #

    You may be aware that the Senate’s Order of Business for today includes the notice of motion by Senator Abetz, Leader of the Opposition in the Senate for disallowance of the Fair Work (Transitional Provisions and Consequential Amendments) Amendments Regulations 2011 (No 1).

    Whilst this processes runs its course within the Senate, PeakCare Queensland will continue to monitor the situation and keep you informed as well as we are able.

    Peakcare has been advised by some organisations that they are wishing to wait to see what may occur in the Senate today before entering comments in response to this blog post or emailing their comments to us. Those comments that have already been provided to us will commence being entered into the post shortly. You may, of course, directly enter your comments into the post yourself.

    Irrespective of the proceedings that occur within the Senate today, PeakCare Queensland remains committed to the achievement of equitable pay rates that assist in ensuring high quality delivery of services to children, young people and families, full Government funding of these services, and proper and well-planned implementation of equitable pay rates in collaboration with the sector.

    September 22, 2011
  2. Comment provided to Vanessa Walker #

    “If this regulation were to come into effect and apply to Red Cross without proper transitional arrangements and funding, between 40 and 50 positions would be impacted through redundancy or reduced hours – about 15% of our workforce affected by the regulation. About 2,000 people would have service withdrawn as a result through cancellation or downscaling of projects supporting homeless young people, at risk children and their families, Aboriginal and Torres Strait young people and older isolated people living in the community. ”

    September 22, 2011
  3. Comment provided to Vanessa Walker #

    A medium sized non-profit organisation has several services which will be impacted by the shortfall in funding and the impacts of the Regulation. In most of their services it will be possible to close the service for one or two days per week to find the money for the back pay and ongoing increases in costs. But one service in the South East corner of the State which is supporting people with intellectual disability to live independently will have to shut down completely because it is not possible to reduce staffing ratios or to reduce the operation from the current 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. The shortfall in funding for backpay is about $220,000 for this service and wages will increase by around $180,000 per year. There is no pool of spare money to pay these amounts from.

    September 22, 2011
  4. Comment provided to Vanessa Walker #

    Roseberry Community Services is a small regional non-profit organisation that offers a range of services including Youth and Family Services, Homelessness Services, Emergency Accommodation and Social Housing. The Homelessness services will be most impacted by the shortfall in funding and the impacts of the Regulation. The Youth Shelter will be required to close during the day Monday and Friday and for five hours every second Sunday. There is a general impact on the organisation’s financial situation and as a result projects that the agency had put money aside for will now be put on hold. Aside from the devastating impact that this will have on clients the service also expressed concerns about the impact on the general community when young people will be left without a service during these times and the potential backlash on the organisation if it is seen to be ‘forcing young people to roam the streets’. This is in a community where the press has a tendency to portray young people in a negative light.

    September 22, 2011
  5. Lindsay Wegener #


    Important advice has been received that the current Queensland Pay Equity Regulations will be repealed and replaced. The Federal Government has also stated its intention to ensure that the current Queensland pay equity rates will be paid to SACS workers from 1 October 2011.

    Peakcare is forwarding written advice to the Chief Executive Officers and State Managers of our Member Agencies advising them of this development. This includes a copy of statement released by the Federal Government.

    September 22, 2011

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