UnitingCare Australia is undertaking a concerted push to change the way our system works, by challenging decision makers to use the economy to improve wellbeing.
Today we launch our 2022 Australian Election Policy Platform – our campaign Uniting A Caring Australia.
We know that cost of living pressures will be a key factor in determining the outcome of the election. One of our key asks for the Federal Election therefore is economic inequality – we believe in an Australia where prosperity is shared fairly, embracing all people, regardless of their privilege or upbringing.
We’re calling for a fairer system that gives everyone the best chance at a decent life. And we’re calling for a world where everyone can thrive. Together, we can help make people the priority in Australia and ensure everyone is empowered to live a life of dignity.
Join the Campaign
We are encouraging all Australians to play an active part in making people the priority in Australia and ensure everyone is empowered to live a life of dignity.
To get started, visit our campaign page.
Ways you can help
Today we’re asking you to support our campaign. Some activities will take five minutes, others will take a little longer.
- Write to your MP
- Meet with your local MP
- Call your local MP
- Invite your local MP to an event
- Post on social media and tag your local MP
The campaign focuses on three key policies:
1. A National Stagnant Incomes Inquiry
An accelerated Productivity Commission Inquiry into the causes of wage stagnation to report by the end of 2022.
In the period from 2013 to now, wage growth has averaged less than 2.5 per cent annually. In the five years prior to 2013, wage growth averaged around 4.5 per cent.
UnitingCare Australia recognises that a complex range of economic issues have kept wage growth low over the past ten years, and calls on the Government to undertake an accelerated Productivity Commission Inquiry into these causes and policy options.
This policy is a pivotal step toward ensuring Australian households have sufficient income to live with dignity and that economic resources are distributed in a just way. This Inquiry will provide decision makers with the tools to drive sustainable wage growth. This Inquiry will also consider the transfer payment system and highlight the economic drag caused by our indefensibly low JobSeeker payment.
2. Increase wages in Aged Care
A commitment to support any aged care pay rise approved by the Fair Work Commission in the current wage increase case.
The Royal Commission in Aged Care Quality and Safety identified low wages in the aged care sector as a key barrier to providing high quality aged care. Over the past two years in particular the workforce crisis in aged care has escalated significantly and poses a real and present threat to the continued operations of the sector.
Aged care workers are the lowest paid caring workforce and yet are doing some of the most important work in the nation, supporting our ageing and aged citizens.
The starting rate for a personal carer is just $1.29 higher than the national minimum wage and an entry level Registered Nurse in aged care earns 28 per cent less than an entry level.
Raising aged care wages will directly increase incomes for some of the most poorly paid workers in Australia. It will also provide competition for workers in related employment, further driving modest increases in incomes for low-income households.
This policy targets a specific group (aged care workers) and as a result will improve gender economic equality (about 86 per cent of the aged care workforce in direct care roles identify as female).
It will improve aged care quality in Australia by ensuring a stable workforce and adequate staffing levels.
3. Superannuation on Parental Leave Pay
Paying superannuation for those on the government’s Parental Leave Pay program.
Paying superannuation on Parental Leave Pay will be a small but significant step toward economic equality, especially gender equality amongst older Australians.
People on parental leave (paid and unpaid) can receive the government’s Parental Leave Pay for 18 weeks, made up of an initial set period of 12 weeks and a flexible 6 week add-on. In total, recipients receive around $14,000 over the 18 week period (before tax). Recipients can receive employer paid parental leave and Parental Leave Pay.
The government payment is means tested with people earning less than $150,000 qualifying for the payment at minimum wage.
Superannuation is not paid on top of this payment which means there is a gap in the accumulation of superannuation for this group, 99 per cent of whom are women.
Greater superannuation balances will directly lift incomes in retirement for those who take parental leave, particularly women. Today women retire with 42 per cent less superannuation than men. The severe disadvantage experienced by women in retirement was first highlighted by UnitingCare Australia commissioned NATSEM research in 2001. At last review, 99.4 per cent of Parental Leave Pay were women.
For more information, read our latest media release.