Bill's Media Releases

$7.1 million to help protect Australia’s most vulnerable workers

The Australian Government will provide $7.1 million over four years to ensure five Community Based Employment Advice Services (CBEAS) can continue to assist thousands of Australia’s most vulnerable workers.

CBEAS are not-for-profit organisations which provide advice, assistance and information to Australians who experience difficulties in asserting and exercising their rights at work.

Clients of CBEAS include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, working Australians with disability, women, mature-age workers, migrants and young people.

Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Bill Shorten said this investment is part of the Gillard Government’s commitment to fairer workplaces and a strong economy.

“The Gillard Government is committed to ensuring Australian workers get a fair go at work,” Mr Shorten said.

“That’s why it’s important that every Australian who can work is able to benefit from the dignity of work and make their contribution to our nation’s economy.

“An important part of this is ensuring vulnerable workers such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and women generally, working Australians with disability, migrants, mature-age workers and young people know they can participate in the workforce on an equal footing before the law.

“That is why we are making this important investment in protecting Australia’s most vulnerable workers.”

The five Community Based Employment Advice Services which will receive funding grants are:

  • The South Australian Working Women’s Centre

  • The Queensland Working Women’s Centre

  • The Northern Territory Working Women’s Centre

  • Employment Law Centre in Western Australia, and

  • JobWatch (Victoria).

“Labor Members and Senators have been strong and vocal advocates of these centres in South Australia, Queensland, the NT, Western Australia and Victoria and I thank them for being strong voices on behalf of their communities.”

The Minister also acknowledged Adam Bandt’s advocacy for JobWatch in Victoria.

Mr Shorten said providing funding for four years will help the Community Based Employment Advice Services deliver an even higher quality of service to their clients.

“Knowing that increased funding is available for four years will help these organisations plan for the future and better target areas of need,” he said.

“Our investment provides greater scope to ensure these organisations continue to attract highly qualified and dedicated staff who themselves need certainty that they have a job for more than a year.

“The Gillard Government applauds the work these organisations do to make Australian workplaces fairer and more productive and we are pleased to support them and their clients with this additional and longer term investment,” Mr Shorten said.

Services offered by the CBEAS include self-help information sessions for people representing themselves before Fair Work Australia, evening legal advice services, community legal education and research services, and telephone advisory services.

The new funding arrangements will commence on 1 July 2012.