Latest News

Statement from ACTU Secretary Sally McManus and President Michele O’Neil on the passing of Bob Hawke

It is with immense sorrow and gratitude that the Australian union movement acknowledges the passing of Bob Hawke.

As a leader of our nation and of our movement, Bob was a hero to working people – an architect of the accords, the father of Medicare, and a founder of universal superannuation.

The Australian union movement has enormous pride that a great and respected representative of working people and ACTU President went on to become a loved and legendary Australian Prime Minister.

Millions of working people owe their health, their prosperity and their dignity in retirement to Bob’s work.

All our thoughts and sympathy are with Bob’s family and loved ones during this time.

The entire union family is grieving as are all Australians.

We will never forget him.

Solidarity and Vale Bob Hawke

Unemployment up to 5.2%

ABS data released this morning shows that the unemployment rate has increased 0.1 to 5.2 per cent, underemployment has also jumped sharply, up 0.3 to 8.5 per cent. There are more than 1 million people underemployed.

High underemployment has been a key feature of the Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison Government as good, secure jobs have become harder to find and more people are forced to look for second and third jobs to make ends meet.

Recent research has shown that people with more and one job earn less than those with a single job. People who cannot get enough hours in their primary job do not have a way to make up that deficit.

The future under a re-elected Morrison Government holds more of the same. Fewer secure jobs, more people being forced to pick up second and third jobs but still not making enough to keep up with the rising cost of living.

Quotes attributable to ACTU Secretary Sally McManus:

“People are struggling to find enough work and the only answer from the Morrison Government is to hand more money to the big end of town.

“The Morrison Government’s policies have failed to create jobs and improve quality of life for working people.

“We need more secure jobs. We need to put power in the hands of working people so that they can win fair pay rises and better conditions.

“The Morrison Government has cut penalty rates and given tax cuts to business, telling us it would create jobs. It hasn’t created a single job, but it has made life harder for millions of people.

“No one should have to work multiple jobs just to keep their head above water.

“We need a government which will look out for working people and create more secure jobs. We have to change the government to change the rules.”

Source: ACTU


Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights

The Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights (ACHR) was developed by the Australian Commission of Safety and Quality in Healthcare in 2007 and 2008. The ACHR has been endorsed by Australia’s Health Ministers for use across the country.

The Charter applies to all healthcare settings within Australia.  This includes:

  • medical specialists,
  • day procedure facilities,
  • private allied health clinics (psychologists, dentists, social workers, naturopaths, occupational therapists),
  • public hospitals,
  • private hospitals,
  • GP clinics,
  • community health centres.

The Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights describes the rights of patients (and their family and carers) that use the Australian healthcare system.   The ACHR was created to ensure that patient’s receive high quality and safe healthcare services within Australia.

Click on the link below to access a Brochure outlining the Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights:

The following brochure discusses the Seven Charter rights and provides some advice to patients (and their carer’s and families) on how they can ensure that their rights are upheld:

The Australian Commission of Safety and Quality in Healthcare has been reviewing the ACHR (to create a second edition) via a public Consultation process throughout 2018 and during early 2019.  The Health Workers Union has participated in the consultation process and provided significant feedback to the Australian Commission of Safety and Quality in Healthcare.

A report on this consultation is available by clicking the link below:

Consultation Report Phase 1 – Review of the Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights – August 2018.

The Australian Commission of Safety and Quality in Healthcare in in the process of completing their review and plans to release the updated version of the Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights later this year. 

Making a complaint about healthcare that you have received

Understand your rights as a healthcare consumer and what to do if these are not met. 

Do you know your healthcare rights?

Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) assists the 15 National Boards that are responsible for regulating health professions. The key job of the National Boards is to protect the public and to set standards and policies that must be adhered to by registered health practitioners.

Would you like to make a complaint about a health practitioner?

Alternatively, if you would like to make a Complaint about Commonwealth Government departments and agencies, you must contact the Commonwealth Ombudsman. 

Click on the following link to make a complaint to the Commonwealth Ombudsman.

The Commonwealth Ombudsman also deals with complaints in the following areas:

  • Private Health Insurance,
  • Overseas Students with private education providers,
  • the Defence Force,
  • Immigration,
  • Law Enforcement,
  • the Postal Industry,
  • Public Interest Disclosure Scheme.

If you would like to make a complaint about the quality of aged care that you or a loved one has received, please click on the following link:

Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission

Health Insurance Changes Commence on 1st April 2019

The Australian Government will implement new rules to assist consumers to make a more informed decision about Private Health Insurance from the 1st April 2019.  The changes have been designed to make it easier for customers to choose the best type of private health insurance cover for them and their families.

Basic cover, Bronze, Silver, Gold

Private Health Insurance companies will start implementing the new hospital cover changes from the 1st of April 2019.  The changes will become mandatory on the 1st of April 2020. All hospital insurance policies will be classified as Gold, Silver, Bronze or Basic. 

Private health insurers have one year, from 1 April 2019, to implement the new laws.  Existing health insurance policies will automatically change into one of the new layers mentioned above (between now and the1st April 2020.

If you have a Private Health Insurance policy, your company must send you information about how the changes will impact your policy. 

Other Changes to Health Insurance Policies

The Private Health Insurance Amendments encourage insurance companies to offer the following:

  • Discounted rates for young people aged between 18 and 29,
  • People will be allowed to choose to pay Higher “excesses” in exchange for Lower insurance premiums,
  • Travel and lodging reimbursements for people that must travel long distances for hospital treatment,
  • Additional mental health treatment options by permitting people to upgrade their hospital coverage without the need to re-serve a waiting period

Important change to all Health Insurance Policies

Private Health Insurance Companies will no longer be able to offer benefits for most Natural/Complimentary therapies as part of their ‘extras’ policies. 

From the 1st April 2019, the following 16 Natural/Complimentary therapies will not be covered under any Private Health Insurance Policy:

  • Alexander Technique      
  • Aromatherapy
  • Kinesiology                       
  • Yoga
  • Shiatsu                              
  • Homoeopathy
  • Rolfing                              
  • Naturopathy
  • Pilates                               
  • Reflexology
  • Bowen therapy                
  • Buteyko
  • Western Herbalism          
  • Feldenkrais
  • Iridology                          
  • Tai Chi

Natural/Complimentary therapies that remain unchanged

Chinese Medicine, Remedial Massage and Acupuncture will not be impacted by the changes to Private Health Insurance.  People can continue seeing practitioners working in the above three types of therapies as per normal.

For more detailed information about the changes please click on the overview of the new reforms link that will take you to the Australian Government Department of Health website.

For those of you that want to read the Amendments to the Private Health Insurance Act, please click on the link below to access the Australian Government Federal Register of Legislation website:

What to do if you are having problems with your Private Health Insurer?

The Commonwealth Ombudsman protects the interests of Private Health Insurance customers. If you have any complaints or other concerns the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman has been given new powers to investigate and assist you. Please click on the above link that will take you to the website of the Commonwealth Ombudsman.

It is important for you to keep in mind that Private Health Insurance companies will start implementing the new hospital cover changes from the 1st of April 2019.  The changes will become mandatory on the 1st of April 2020. The Health Workers Union will continue to update you about the changes to our Private Health Insurance system.

Kamal Bekhazi

Senior Research & Projects Officer

Latest News In The Victorian Health Sector

Victoria's Portable Long Service Leave Update November 2018

Visit our submissions section to view all of the submissions the HWU has made in regard to Portable Long Service Leave.



Women currently working in the health sector have a final opportunity to register their interest in a scholarship worth up to $8,000 to support participation in a leadership development program. 
Funding must be apportioned by the end of September and it is unsure when these grants will be available again. Find out more and register your interest by completing the Expression of Interest form here prior to 5pm on September 21:


Working Well Aged Care Study

Attention Members: Opportunity to participate in important Aged Care Research Study
In order to improve the pay and working conditions of HWU members that work within our aged care sector, and to improve the quality of care delivered to older Australian’s, the HWU has been representing workers on a number of levels.
We have been active in our member’s workplaces, lobbying parliament, making numerous submissions to federal and state parliamentary inquiries, the DOH and other organisations, attending taskforces and advisory groups and we have been working with our partners in the research sector.
The most recent aged care research study that we have been involved in is being run through the University of Melbourne and the Brotherhood of St Laurence.  The research project is investigating the connections between employment and health among older workers in the aged-care sector. The study is funded by the Australian Research Council and is titled: “Working well? Older Workers, Health, and Work”.
We encourage HWU members that meet the research study participant criteria (such as age, gender, health status or live in a particular postcode) to participate in this important study.  We also encourage members that might know someone that meets the research study participant criteria to inform them of the study.  We encourage interested members to contact Dr Aaron Hart on (03) 9483 1330 or

Please click the following link for an opportunity to participate in the study.

The Impact of Technology in Healthcare

It’s amazing to look back and see just how far our world has come technologically. If someone from 100 years ago suddenly found themselves in today’s world, they would think they had been teleported into another dimension.

The same can be said about technology in healthcare. It has improved the overall operational efficiency, enhanced standards in patient care. Healthcare technology has transformed and enhanced the entire experience for both patients and medical professionals.

The top healthcare technologies & trends within the healthcare industry are revolutionising the sector.  Although the Australian healthcare sector has adopted some of these technologies, we continue to lag behind other western countries in introducing the technologies.

The Heath Workers Union believes that in order to continue to deliver best practise healthcare, we must invest & introduce the following trends and innovations in our hospitals, aged care sector, community health centres & other health related work places.

Top 5 Healthcare Technology Trends and Innovations

1. Availability of Information and big data
The accessibility of data and the means to store and process it is a hallmark of the technological age. The Internet, intranet systems, search features and the ability for healthcare professionals to rapidly share information have enhanced the synthesis and analysis of data. 

“Big data” in healthcare allows the entire field to benefit from comprehensive research studies. These endeavours can access larger and more diverse population groups than ever before. 

The availability of fast & high level data can be used to automatically identify risk factors and recommend the right preventative treatment by comparing patient data with data from thousands of other patients.

Furthermore, people living in rural and regional areas will benefit from this technology.  At the same time, disabled persons and people from NESB may also benefit. The successful introduction of Australia's NBN will have a significant impact on the success & roll out of this technology in our health sector. 

2. Improved Communication
Technological innovations in healthcare have facilitated much smoother communication within healthcare organisations. Medical professionals can now use media such as video, online discussion platforms and real-time meeting capacities to communicate and advance the spread of knowledge in the field. 

The availability of Electronic medical records in-house (as compared to a paper trail) can be accessed by all relevant departments (for example, between the Emergency Department and Psychiatric departments) and care providers. This results in improved case management, treatments and patient recovery.

3. Electronic Medical Records
In the past, medical information from visits to the General Practitioner (GP), medical specialist, allied health professionals and the dentists were held in separate locations with different health practitioners and hospitals. Electronic medical records allow all patient histories, test results, diagnoses and relevant information to be stored centrally in an online database. 

Access of this data by medical professionals allows for more focused and real time care as well as the ability to see health trends for each individual. 

The introduction of new, more user friendly Medical billing systems allow hospitals, clinics and medical practices to run much more smoothly and increase productivity.

4. Telemedicine/Telehealth
Telemedicine/Telehealth services such as video-conferencing are becoming cost effective ways to complement local health services. It is particularly beneficial to those living in rural, regional and remote communities and requiring regular access to medical specialists who live several kilometres away. 

Generally you have a GP, other medical practitioners, nurse practitioners, midwives, health workers and practice nurses providing face-to-face clinical services to the patient during the teleconsultation with the specialist to ensure the correct procedures are carried out. 

In the 2017-18 Federal Budget, the Australian Government announced funding of $9.1 million over four years from 2017-18 to enable Australians who live in rural and regional Australia to access Better Access services via video conferencing.

Medicare-funded telehealth services are also available to residents of eligible aged-care homes and to patients of Aboriginal Medical Services across Australia.

5. Mobility and Mobile Apps
Mobile software applications (that is, mobile apps) are key to improving accessibility for patients and healthcare professionals. Mobile apps enable people to easily manage their health and wellbeing; everything from prompting them to get check-ups, to finding general medical information or accessing their test results securely online 24/7 without having to book in an appointment with their GP and wait days for results. 

Healthcare professionals on the other hand, can quickly access information relating to diseases and drugs, images for clinical matters, continued education activities and so on.
The Health Workers Union has invested in the development of an Aged care & Disability Apps. Health Workers Union Members can download the Aged Care App from our website & the Disability APP will be accessible before the end of 2017.

The Health Workers Union plans to develop additional APPS for other health industries or sectors. We encourage members with ideas about new Apps to contact the HWU and share their ideas.

Private Patients in Public Hospitals

Australians have always taken for granted that when they need medical treatment, their Medicare card (and the taxes that they have paid) entitles them to prompt quality health care.

Unfortunately, due to the fact that private health insurance companies have been increasing their premiums by 7% to 12% a year, uninsured Australian’s have been forced to wait longer than ever before for most medical procedures.

A new report published by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (December 2017) found that public patients have been forced to wait twice as long for elective surgery compared to private patients .  The main reason behind this unacceptable reality is related to the fact that a large number of Private patients have been using public hospitals.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare also found that between 2006 and 2016 the number of Private patients treated in Public hospitals increased by almost 10% a year.  At the same time, insured patients treated in private hospitals only increased by 5%.

Regrettably, due to frequent cuts to healthcare funding, Public hospitals are actively competing for Private patients because they are able to obtain financial benefits from private patient’s health insurers.  They offer Private patients prompt treatment, private rooms, daily flowers and newspapers and free telephone, internet and Wi-Fi usage during their hospital stay.

In fact, the Australian Government has released a paper titled “Options to reduce pressure on private health insurance premiums by addressing the growth of private patients in public hospitals” for public consultation.  It appears that the government is looking to increase the number of private patients using public hospitals with the hope that this measure may encourage Private health insurance companies reduce their yearly increase of health insurance premiums.

Successive Federal governments have supported the private health sector financially via the private health insurance rebate and other direct financial contributions.  In 2014-15 the Australian Government spent $5.8 billion on the Private Health Insurance Rebate.

The government justifies financially supporting private health insurance companies with the claim that this would help reduce the pressure on Australia’s public hospital.  That is, people with private health insurance would be treated in private hospitals.

Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is that over the past decade, the reverse has occurred, with an increasing proportion of insured patients being treated in public hospitals.  Most private hospitals have set up their services so that they offer a limited set of services that are likely to deliver them higher profits.  This means that the more complex and difficult patients have been treated by our Public hospitals.

The growing practise of insured patients and their doctors using public hospitals has been promoted by state and territory governments.  This behaviour needs to stop because it is undermining Australia’s principle of universal health care based on Medicare and is unfair for the majority of Australians that are not insured.

We urge state and federal governments to look at the statistics and hear the stories of uninsured patients and to stop this practise.  If change does not occur quickly, we fear that Australia’s health system will become two-tiered.  That is, one system, for the rich and another for the poor and working class!

Community Services Industry Planning Consultation in Bendigo, Traralgon & Benalla (OLD)

The Human Services and Health Partnership Implementation Committee (HSHPIC) is a joint committee of peak community organisations and departmental representatives. The Victorian community sector and Health and Human Services Partnership Implementation Committee (HSHPIC) are working collaboratively to develop a 10 year Community Sector Industry Plan (CSIP) for Victoria.

The CSIP will provide an all-encompassing view of the major trends and strategies that will impact all sectors over the next decade.  The CSIP will also assist in planning for the future community services plan for the state.

VCOSS and DHHS are hosting regional consultation events to provide an opportunity for community sector representatives to take part in the CSIP planning process.  VCOSS and DHHS are hosting four regional consultation events to provide an opportunity for community sector representatives to take part in the CSIP planning process.

These events will be held in Bendigo on the 6th October, Traralgon on the 9th October, Benalla on the 17th and October and Wyndham (20 Oct).

For more information about the abovementioned events, please click on the following link.

Healthcare Is Not The Same As Selling Pots and Pans (OLD)

The Australian Productivity Commission is currently conducting a public Inquiry into the increased application of competition, contestability and informed user choice to human services. In other words, the Government is holding an Inquiry to find ways of using the guise of “competition” to drive down costs in the health sector. 

The HWU has some strong views on this subject! Our Assistant Secretary David Eden and Research and Projects officer Kamal Bekhazi appeared before the Productivity commission Public hearing in Melbourne on July 28th 2017. They provided input direct to the Commissioners!

We are fully aware that the health sector is increasingly resource hungry. Providing high quality healthcare to Australians, especially as the population ages, is a costly business, and a genuine challenge for governments, both State and Federal. It makes sense that policy makers review the operating models and costs structures from time to time to ensure resources are not being wasted or used inefficiently.

We do not support competition for competition’s sake, especially when it comes to the provision of health services. The health sector is not a commodities market. Compassion, care and respect are the life blood of our system but they are not products to be traded like stocks on the exchange or Pots and Pans in a retail outlet.

The key point the HWU has made - and will continue to make - on the issue of the application of competitive models in the health sector, is that quality of care (which depends on fair and safe working conditions for staff) must be the paramount consideration. Quality of care must come before money, and be given primacy over economic models and balance sheets

Increasingly, governments around the world are using competition as a key tool in health care. The federal government believes that competition can help contain the growth in health care expenditure by driving down costs, improving efficiency, stimulating quality improvements and driving innovation. Those that support competition and the use of market mechanisms in health care tend to also oppose direct public sector regulation such as controlling prices. They argue that regulation creates health systems that operate inefficiently and creates barriers to innovation and reform.

The HWU has a very different view, namely, the provision of health care is very different from markets for other goods and services. That is, providing healthcare is not the same as selling Pots and Pans or providing a landscaping service to households. It is not appropriate to simply adopt pro-market mechanisms, such as competition (even though they are used extensively in other sectors of the economy).

The social and community heath sectors are not a series of independent cost centres. They are sectors made up of a people in need of care and support and people skilled in providing that care and support, coming together in a myriad of ways and circumstances. The sector is not generic, or standard, and the transactions between consumers and providers not always quantifiable, or able to be measured in dollars and cents.

Another point the HWU is keen to get across to the Government, via the Productivity Commission, is that competition and contestability can actually cost the government and the sector money. 

In recent years we have seen many providers outsourcing or otherwise selling off the profitable parts of their operating model. By outsourcing Car Parking, or Cafes or Florist shops, healthcare providers have got a short-term profit to their bottom line, but over the long run these sell-offs have resulted in lost revenue or money that could otherwise have been reinvested back into the health sector. 

Instead, staff, patients, residents and visitors end up paying ridiculous prices for private car parking or café owners (for example, $4.50 for a 400ml bottle of concentrated orange juice) and, rather than being re-invested in health, that money leaves the health sector, and in many cases, the country. 

The HWU has made a number of recommendations via our submission and directly to the Productivity Commission. For example:

  • We recommended that the government consider bringing back in-house profitable departments such as car parking and Cafes.
  • Health administrators must move away from a budget and volume driven health system.  Instead, health administrators must focus on delivering and making their explicit goal to deliver excellent outcomes.

The Commission Report is due in October 2017.  You can read more about the recommendations that the HWU have made to the PC and access the written submission made to the Productivity Commission by clicking below.

Health Workers Union Submission Reforms to Human Services - Stage 2 of Productivity Commission Public Inquiry 2016


Cuts to Penalty Rates: Update

Dear Members,

On February 23rd, 2017 the Fair Work Commission (FWC) recommended a cut to penalty rates for hospitality and retail workers.  Maurice Blackburn lawyers reviewed the FWC decision and found that the Commission’s findings of fact and law are all findings potentially applicable to other awards.  In other words, workers within the health and community sectors could also have their penalty rates cut.

In less than two weeks, almost 700,000 workers will have their penalty rates cut!  Workers will notice that their take home pay will be slashed by about $70 a week.

This is unacceptable and will hurt the most vulnerable people in our society.

People living in socio-economically disadvantaged areas, regional communities, young Australian’s, women and in particular single mothers will bear the brunt of the FWC cuts to penalty rates.

Penalty rates were established in 1947, when unions argued in the Arbitration Commission that Australian workers needed to be compensated with additional pay for working outside normal hours.  We cannot let the FWC or the Federal government to allow these cuts to be made!

We have the power to stop the penalty rate cuts!  In fact, the Turnball government can vote in the parliament to have these cuts stopped!  The Labor party and the Greens are in favour of passing a law to stop the FWC penalty rate cuts from happening.

In fact, a bill that will reverse the penalty rate cuts has already passed the Federal Senate.  All we need is for the Federal government to support the bill.  Instead of supporting the bill, yesterday, the Federal Government (the Liberal party and Nationals coalition) used its numbers in the House of Representatives To Stop a debate before a vote could even be taken.

We urge all members and their families to call and write to your Federal Member of Parliament (especially Federal Members of Parliament that belong to the Liberal and National Parties) and ask them to pressure their leader, Malcolm Turnbull to vote in the parliament to Stop the Penalty Rate Cuts from commencing in Less than Two Weeks!

The Health Workers Union has written a submission in response to the FWC decision to cut penalty rates.  We have recommended that the Federal government introduce legislation to federal parliament to protect penalty rates from the recent Fair Work Commission decision to cut Sunday and Public Holiday penalty rate pay.

Please click on the following link to read the HWU submission in full: HWU submission to the Victorian Parliaments Select Committee Inquiry into Penalty Rates and Fair Pay 2017

Protect Penalty Rates

We thank you for your support.


HWU Secretary Diana Asmar speaks up for 127 low-paid Cabrini linen workers in Dandenong that are set to lose their jobs!

Federal Senate Employment and Education Committee Inquiry into Corporate Avoidance of the Fair Work Act

The Health Workers Union Assistant Secretary David Eden and Research & Projects Officer Kamal Bekhazi gave evidence at the Federal Senate Inquiry into Corporate Avoidance of the Fair Work Act on the 14th March 2017. The Inquiry was held in the Conservatory Room, Mercure Ballarat Hotel and Convention Centre, Ballarat.

The Health Workers Union representatives presented evidence to the senate committee about the following areas:

  • Rural aged care providers favouring overseas VISA workers to local workers that are desperate for more hours;
  • Local Supported Residential Services facilities that understaff their centres and pay workers cash in hand and do not pay them Superannuation and other entitlements;
  • The high prevalence of Involuntary Casual and Part time employment within the Aged care and Disability sector;
  • Bullying and harassment within the health sector and the need to improve the Fair-work Act to allow unions to better represent victims of Bullying and Harassment.

The Health Workers Union will continue to represent our members at the highest level of government and will not rest until we improve the pay and work conditions of our members!


The courier has written two articles related to the evidence our representatives gave to the Senate committee into Corporate Avoidance of the Fair Work Act.

Please click on the links below to read the articles.

Ballarat's elderly and disabled endangered by shortcuts

BHS bullies "popping up" at other hospitals, says union

Penalty rates may become a thing of the past unless you take action!

Most of you may have heard about the shocking cuts to penalty rates (including weekends and public holidays) that were recently announced by the Fair-work Commission. The changes to Public Holiday pay will come into effect on July 1st of this year!

The decision effects people who work in the retail, hospitality or fast food industries. This decision has set a precedent!  They will be coming after your pay next, no matter what sector you work in.

Most Australians are incensed!  Some people are angry and others annoyed.

You can help us stop them by Joining the Health Workers Union and writing to your local Member of Parliament.

In a statement to the media, the Federal Employment Minister, Michaelia Cash, said “The government has no plans to change the way penalty rates are set. ”Our Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said” We accept the decision and we support the decision”

The government is not interested in stopping this attack on the hundreds of thousands of workers that rely on Sunday and Public Holiday penalty rates.

The government is only interested in looking after the rich and multinational corporations. They cut workers penalty rates and give tax concessions to big business.

What has happened to the lucky country? 

It feels like the large mining companies and the banks, not the workers, are the lucky ones these days!  They are making billions of dollars, sending most of it offshore and avoiding paying their fair share of tax.

We can do something about this, but we need to join forces and work together.

Yours in Solidarity

Kamal Bekhazi

Research Officer

Health Workers Union

The federal government is trying to make changes that will hurt the battlers and benefit the Rich!

The Health Workers Union recently made a Submission to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee inquiry into the Fairer Paid Parental Leave Bill 2016.

We recommended the following:

  •  We urge the senate to reject the Bill in its current form!
  • The Bill should be amended so that it increases the proposed Paid Parental Leave Entitlements limit from 18 weeks to 26 weeks, resulting in an increase of $5,382 for the average mother.
  • Australian Paid Parental Leave Entitlements should be means tested. 
  • The federal government must introduce Bills and other regulations that aim to stop loopholes used by large multinational corporations, the banks and mining companies to avoid paying their fair share of taxes!

The committee tabled its report of the inquiry in the Senate on 15 February 2017.

 A copy of the committee's report can be accessed on the committee’s website here.

The committee's report noted that Schedules 17 and 18 of the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Omnibus Savings and Child Care Reform) Bill 2017 (Omnibus Bill), introduced into the House of Representatives on 8 February 2017, contained similar provisions to those in the Fairer Paid Parental Leave Bill 2016.

The committee is now conducting an inquiry into the Omnibus Bill for report by 20 March 2017. The Omnibus savings and Child Care Reform Bill and accompanying documents can be accessed on the Parliament of Australia website.

The committee intends to consider the concerns raised and the evidence received in the committee’s inquiry into the Fairer Paid Parental Leave Bill 2016 in conjunction with its consideration of the provisions of the Omnibus Bill.

We have been invited to make another submission for the committee's inquiry into the Omnibus Bill. 

The closing date for submissions is 3 March 2017.

What is the Omnibus Savings and Child Care Reform Bill 2017?

Last week the Coalition introduced a Bill that they called the Omnibus Bill 2017 to try to make nearly $4 billion in savings through the Parliament.

The bill included increases to childcare subsidies, and cuts to family tax benefits and paid parental leave.

Most recently, the Treasurer Scott Morrison tried to blackmail the crossbench (made up of independents, the Greens, One Nation, Nick Xenophon and others) to support the bill, stating that the Government would redirect $3 billion to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) if the legislation passed.

Millions of Australian’s, mainly those that can least afford it will be harmed. They include: Pensioners, New parents and Families with Children, and Students and Young people will lose almost $100 a fortnight after the Liberals kick them off their Newstart Allowance and move them to the inappropriate Youth Allowance (they want to make 22 as the qualifying age for Newstart Allowance).

Turnbull and Scott Morrison have been saying that these cuts are needed – but the reality is that the Government will use the so called savings to fund enormous tax cuts for well-to-do corporations, many of whom don’t pay their fair share of tax anyway (their accountants find loop-holes and other means to avoid paying tax). If these companies did pay their fair share of tax, then the government would have the money to fund our community services properly.

The most recent news is as follows:

Nick Xenophon stated that he was against the governments devastating cuts – well, some of them. 

But the other crossbenchers are still uncommitted. They might yet give the go ahead for the government’s plans.

Kamal Bekhazi

Research & Projects Officer

Health Workers Union

10 Year Plan To End Family Violence

Released by the Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence, Minister for Women & the Premier of Victoria.

The Andrews Labor Government will deliver landmark reforms to protect women and children, with the release of a 10 Year Plan to end family violence.
Ending Family Violence: Victoria’s Plan for Change details how the Labor Government will deliver the 227 recommendations made by Australia’s first Royal Commission into Family Violence and build a new system that protects families and punishes perpetrators.
On average one woman is killed every week in Australia by a current or former partner.
To help achieve a Victoria where no women or children are killed as a result of family violence, the Labor Government will:

Establish a network of Support and Safety Hubs across Victoria, where victim survivors can access the support they need to stay safe
Recruit new specialist family violence workers to support women and their children access services they need to stay safe and get back on their feet
Invest a further $218 million in social housing and private rental assistance, bringing housing investment to $600 million since the Royal Commission report
Strengthen intervention orders, tighten up the bail process, and allow for the better sharing of information so a victims right to safety isn’t trumped by a perpetrators right to privacy
Provide specialist training to Victoria Police officers who play a critical role in responding to family violence and upgrade our courts to provide greater security for victim survivors
Initiate a Primary Prevention strategy, alongside a state-wide behavioural change campaign, to help stop family violence happening in the first place

These reforms will require government to transform the way it works with a number of new bodies created:
  • A co-ordination agency which will oversee the operation of the Support and Safety Hubs
  • A prevention agency with dedicated funding focusing on providing advice on best practice
  • A Centre for Workforce Excellence to focus on building the strongest possible workforce
  • The Victorian Centre for Data Insights will change the way that government collects information and will build new capabilities to analyse data to protect families at risk

This announcement follows our record $572 million investment in the Victorian Budget 2016/17. A 10 Year Investment Plan will be released in March 2017 detailing the further funding needed to implement our reforms.
Together we are building a new system to prevent family violence, protect the vulnerable, and punish the guilty.
These are landmark reforms that will help save the lives of women and children across Victoria.
The above News release was sourced from the Website of the Premier of Victoria.

Daniel Andrews

Premier of Victoria

Victorian State Government Logo

‚Äč© State of Victoria.

Safe and Strong: A Victorian Gender Equality Strategy

The Victorian Government has released a number of watershed reforms that aim to support women and girls in their:

  • homes, 
  • workplaces and
  • community.

Safe and Strong: A Victorian Gender Equality Strategy will address gender inequality, sexism and violence against women.

The plan is multifaceted. It includes a Gender Equality Act and a new organisation dedicated to preventing family violence.

For more information about this important strategy please click here.

For more information about the Australian Workplace Gender Equity Agency please click here.


Bullying at Ballarat Health Services

The emotional and financial cost of bullying have been revealed at Ballarat Health Services, click here to read more.

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