newsletter September 2005
Tasmanian Council of Social Service Inc. inside this issue Social Pol icy Repo r t by Luke Ma r t i n : 1
F rom t he CE O by Mat Rowel l :
2 0 0 5 Budget Season Wrap-Up : 6 Indust r y Development News by David Owen : 7 G roce r ies and alcohol a dange rous cock ta i l : 10 Stop ress :
Au ro ra Pay As You Go by Kat h McLean : 13 ACCC Consume r Consul tat ive Comm i t tee Update :
You r consul tat ion and commun icat ion st ructu re bet ween Cent rel i nk and t he commun i t y se r vices secto r Mat Rowel l : 15 Home and Commun i t y Ca re Consume r Consul tat ion Project : 18
Industrial Relations and Welfare changes to put even greater pressure on struggling Tasmanians. With the Federal Government gaining a majority in the Senate on July 1, TasCOSS has been looking closely at some of the Government’s major legislative reforms and how they will impact on low-income and disadvantaged Tasmanians.
entitlements, to their basic work conditions. These AWAs are confidential and workers risk dismissal if they share or compare the details of their contract with their colleagues. These agreements will essentially replace awards and collective bargaining agreements.
Industrial Relations Reforms
AWAs will be bound to just five conditions enshrined by law - the minimum hourly pay, 4-weeks annual leave, 8-days sick leave, unpaid parental leave and maximum weekly working hours.
In May the Government announced its proposal to overhaul Australia’s industrial relations system. The sheer scope of the proposed changes is confronting and almost every Australian worker will be affected by the changes in some way. TasCOSS is concerned about the impact of the changes on vulnerable and disadvantaged Tasmanian workers - such as casual and low-skilled workers, singleparents and employees with a disability, mental illness or from a migrant or indigenous background.
Under the proposed changes, the Government wants workers to enter into Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs) or individual contracts with their employers that cover all aspects of their employment from their pay and
The Government says that employers and employees should be trusted to negotiate their own terms of employment and that AWAs are merely the outcome of individuals freely engaging in negotiation and compromise. However, TasCOSS argues that logic can only be accepted if employers and employees are on an equal footing in such negotiations. The Government’s proposals offer nothing to ensure workers and especially low-income and lowskilled workers – are able to fairly and effectively bargain their own terms of employment beyond the five basic conditions mentioned above.