SACS AWARD: Act now to ensure the Commonwealth pays its fair share
On March 3rd 2006 the NSW Industrial Relations Commission awarded a 3.5% increase in award wages for SACS workers each year for the next three years. These increases were payable from the 1st of July in 2006, 2007, 2008. These increases are fair and reasonable and have been granted under the laws of the State of NSW.
These increases in wages must be paid by every service covered by the SACS Award (unless the organisation has its own Enterprise Bargaining Agreement which excludes the Award rates of pay).
Each year the Commonwealth and State Governments supplement or index grants to non government organisations. These increases are designed to meet the increased costs of wages and of inflation.
In 2006-07, following a strong campaign from the sector, the NSW Government agreed to provide 3.3% indexation to all State funded services, including the State portion of programs jointly funded by the Commonwealth and the State. For HACC services, 3.3% for services was negotiated through the HACC State plan, but the Commonwealth’s share was taken out of growth. The Commonwealth did not provide indexation at a level that would meet SACS increases.
In 2007-08, we have been advised that all NSW Government departments that fund NGOs subject to the SACS Award will:
Provide 3.3% in 07-08 in all State only funding programs (including CSTDA) to NGOs, commencing from 1 July 2007.
Provide 3.3% in 06-07 in Commonwealth-State funding programs to NGOs for the portion of the program that is funded by the State (eg SAAP, Community Legal Centres but does not include HACC). This commences on 1 July 2007. NSW will also lobby the Commonwealth to match for its portion to the full 3.3%.
DADHC will include 3.3% indexation in their funding plans for programs jointly funded by NSW and the Commonwealth on an agreed matched formula (eg Home and Community Care Program).
The Commonwealth is not providing indexation at a level that would meet the SACS award (in SAAP, for example, indexation remains at 2.15% for the Commonwealth share).
The commitment of NSW will significantly assist the NGO sector in lobbying the Commonwealth to match the 3.3% State contribution. It also places the State in a more principled negotiation position and provides at least some certainty to organizations facing salary increases from 1 July.
This victory is due to the efforts of organisations, workers and service users in the weeks running up to the state budget. Now we need to put the same effort into lobbying the Commonwealth to at least match this level of indexation.
We need to stress to the Commonwealth that our demand for a minimum 3.3% indexation is simply about adequately funding the real cost of community services.
The message is that if they do not provide 3.3% indexation, services will need to be reduced. The blame for this will rest solely with the Commonwealth because the NSW Government is willing to pay its fair share.
We need to work together to get that commitment from the Commonwealth government.
Click on the link below to open the campaign kit – let’s work together to secure a minimum 3.3%!
If you can’t open this link, go to the NCOSS website www.ncoss.org.au and click on link “SACS Award Commonwealth Funding Campaign Kit” on the front page.
66 Albion St, Surry Hills, NSW 2010
Ph: 9211 2599 Ext 111