Our Federal Office final financial statements with Independent Auditor’s Report have now been published for the information of members. The Federal Office represents the common interests of members in policy and legal matters that are national rather than State based. It has responsibility for representation of State public sector workers at the ACTU, and committees of that peak body, and all other national and international forums.
There is a crisis in Australian workplaces which has fallen out of view during the pandemic, but requires immediate attention with more than a fifth of workers having suffered a preventable mental health issue in the last 12 months due to issues in their workplace. A combination of staff shortages, pressure to work through breaks and lack of workplace support is leading to significant rates of work-related mental health issues, according to a new survey conducted by the ACTU.
I want to begin by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land we are meeting on today, the Ngunnawal people and pay all my respect to their elders past and present. It always was and it always will be Aboriginal land.
In 1983, Prime Minister Bob Hawke held an Economic Summit. There were 97 participants. One of them was a woman. Trail blazer Senator Susan Ryan. Every single one of the business delegates were men. Every single one of the union delegates were men.
Not only is this summit unrecognisable from the one held 39 years ago so is the world of work.
A “Decade of Inaction” is to blame for women continuing to earn less than men in every age bracket. ACTU President Michele O’Neil says this will continue “until we address the undervaluation and underpayment of women-dominated industries, including teaching, nursing, and care”. Australia went backwards from 14th to 70th place on the global gender pay gap index.
The Fair Work Commission has announced a 5.2 per cent increase the minimum wage from 1 July. This increase equates to an extra $40 per week in the pocket of a full-time worker on the minimum wage. For workers who are reliant on award wages, the increase will be 4.6 per cent or $40 per week, whichever is higher. The new Federal Minimum Wage moves to $812.60 per week or $42,255.20 per annum. In Victoria the new VPS1 rate from 2 June 2022 is $50,594 and the COG2A award rate for Correctional Officers increases to $50,955 for a 76 hour fortnight compared to the agreement rate $55,439.
The NSW Government, via a press release, has announced it will raise its 2.5% wage ceiling to 3% next financial year and up to 3.5% in 2023-24, in the face of incomes falling behind consumer price inflation and scheduled industrial action. The revised caps would apply to industrial instruments struck after July 1. The 3% rise would apply for the next two years, while a further 0.5% will be available in 2023-24 "for employees that make a substantial contribution to productivity-enhancing reforms", but the Government provided no further detail on what that might entail.
Working people have formed the backbone of an historic national campaign this election. A campaign which focused on conversations between colleagues in workplaces, over the phone, and on social media about the failure of the Morrison Government to deliver for working people. This campaign, led by working people, ensured that cost of living and wage growth was a decisive issue for millions of voters. The election is a rejection of a Government which refused to act to address crises in cost of living, wage growth and insecure work. We congratulate the ALP on winning government with a stro
Wages are going backwards, cost for essentials are skyrocketing, job insecurity is at crisis levels, and corporate profits have increased. And all Scott Morrison says is that it's not his job. In fact, he's hoping that voters will ignore the fact that both he and the Liberal-Nationals have been missing in action for the past nine years while things have gotten worse. Working people in Australia needs a prime minister who doesn't go missing when things get tough. We need a government that will take real, concrete steps to help lift wages and address the cost of living crisis.