by Alan Thornhill
Julia Gillard has pledged an extra $1 billion to help move social workers towards equal pay.
The Prime Minister also called on the States to match her action.
She made the commitment while addressing the New South Wales State Labor Party conference in Sydney.
“This takes our total commitment for equal pay for social and community workers to around $3 billion through to June 2021, as part of the phase in period,” Ms Gillard said.
“From 1 December 2012, 150,000 of Australia’s lowest paid workers will benefit from substantial pay rises of between 23 and 45 percent as a result of Fair Work Australia’s decision to lift the wages of some of Australia’s lowest paid workers,” Ms Gillard said.
About 120,000 of these workers are women.
Ms Gillard said said her Government its committed to meeting its share of the costs associated with “this historic decision.”
“It was this Labor Government who allowed the case to be brought to the independent umpire through our introduction of the Fair Work Act,” Ms Gillard said.
“And this Labor Government will continue to support this historic pay increase at every step of the process as it is phased in,” she added.
Ms Gillard said she expects state and territory governments to meet their obligations and commit their share of funds.
“Employees in our social and community sectors work in some of the most challenging of jobs such as counselling families in crisis, running homeless shelters, working with people with disabilities and with victims of domestic violence or sexual assault,” the Prime Minister said.
“These employees make a real difference to lives of some of our most vulnerable community members and they deserve to be properly rewarded for their efforts,” she added.
Alan Thornhill is a parliamentary press gallery journalist.
Private Briefing is updated daily with Australian personal finance news, analysis, and commentary.
Tuesday May 21
The Dow Jones Index fell 18.97 points to 15,335.40
Unions are seeking a rise of $30 a week in the National Wage Case, which opens today
The latest Morgan Poll shows support for the L-NP down 1 per cent to 55 per centover the past week and the ALP at 45 per cent, 1 per cent, on a two-party preferred basis.
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