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Volume 5, Issue 3

October 2004

Community Services Award Changes David Owen

Policy Officer TasCOSS

Inside this Issue Community Services Award Changes

1

From the Executive Director's Desk

2

ACOSS Annual Congress 3 Farewell to Vince McCormack

3

DHHS Update

4

Consumer Issues Project Update

6

Launch of Medicare Fact Sheet

7

Become a TasCOSS member

8

New Communications 8 Officer HACC Project

8

New Consultative Arrangements with Centrelink

9

Agency Sector Forum Update

9

Foetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder

10

News in Brief

11

Dorothy Pearce Address by Andrew McCallum

12

On 12 August, the Tas mani an I ndustri al Commission ruled that the C o mmu n it y Se r vi ces Award be amended, with changes to wages rates in Levels 4 to 7, the inclusion of increments within each of those levels, the addition of a new Level 8, and adjustments to the classification descriptors. The Commission’s ruling was the culmination of a wage campaign extending well over two years. Commissioner McAlpine awarded a 6% wage increase applying to Levels 47, effective as at 1 October this year, with further 3% increases applying on 1 October 2005 and 1 October 2006. These increases are separate from, and in addition to, wage increases flowing from Safety Net decisions such as the additional $19 applying from August this year. The new increments will be phased in over the next two years. Details of Commissioner McAlpine’s decision can be found on the Industrial Commission website: www.justice.tas.gov.au/tic/ decisions/2004

The ruling follows on from the earlier ruling by TIC Deputy President Watling in January that there had been a significant net addition to the work value of workers in our sector. The Australian Services Union had presented evidence on this issue and employers, represented by the Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, had accepted this evidence

there was a “compelling argument for an increase in wages”, and congratulated the parties for “their professionalism, effort and s tamina” i n wor king cooperatively to achieve the position reached.

TasCOSS also congratulates the ASU and the TCCI for their efforts during this negotiation process. In our media response, TasCOSS said that the Commission’s ruling was a long-overdue recognition of the “Workers in nonincreased demands on community government organisations service workers.

are still paid far less than those doing similar work in government agencies.” without challenge. Following DP Watling’s ruling, the parties had engaged in negotiations about the appropriate wages increase that should arise from this increase in work value. The parties had also approached g o v e r n m e n t representatives signalling the likely funding implications of the wage increases sought. Commissioner McAlpine, in his ruling, stressed that

“The Commission acknowledged what we have known for many years – that community service workers are being asked to apply a greater range of skills in work contexts that are increasingly demanding. Today’s decision brings Tas manian communit y service workers to pay levels comparable with their interstate counterparts, and should help in reducing the loss of valued workers from the sector. It is important to note, however, that workers in non-government organisations are still paid (Continued on page 7)


TasCOSS Newsletter September 2004