Community & Disability News February 2020

The latest news from across the community and disability sector.

Save Equal Pay Rallies

Saving Equal Pay

the fight to protect jobs and services

In 2012 ASU members won Equal Pay in the community and disability sector. It's why we get a pay rise every December.

It's also why ASU members now earn between $200 and $594 more each week. We worked together to win Equal Pay, now we must fight to protect it. 

However, we are facing an unprecedented cut of over $500 million being ripped out of the sector every year. Scott Morrison and his Federal Government has not committed to ongoing funding for Equal Pay. We are fast approaching a funding cliff that would slash jobs and services.

After eight years of funding their fair share of Equal Pay, the Federal Government must not walk away from the community sector and from Equal Pay.

It's up to all of us to Save Equal Pay.

We are holding regional rallies to call on the Federal Government to Save Equal Pay. 

These regional rallies have been endorsed by the Save Equal Pay Alliance made up of peak bodies and community sector organisations.

Bring your colleagues, your banners and signs and let's make sure the Federal Government hears us!

Black Summer

on the frontline of community recovery

This summer, ASU members played key roles in protecting supporting vulnerable communities across NSW and Canberra.

You continued to provide support to our most vulnerable Australians, defended property and lives as part of the RFS, responded to the callout of Australian reservists, and ensured that our vital services like transport and water continued to operate during the most trying circumstances. And this work will continue as communities rebuild.

ASU members recently attended the ACTU National Summit in Canberra with union members from across the country to discuss what supports our members and communities need in response to events like these.


Frontline NDIS workers Kim and Joe have been supporting people with disability through the bushfire crisis. This month they joined Robert Potter from the ASU and Michelle O'Neil from Australian Unions at Parliament House in Canberra for the Emergency Services Summit to tell their story of how their working lives are affected by this ongoing disaster.

How else can you support these communities?

If you can, we encourage ASU members to contribute to the ACTU Bushfire Relief Fund to provide extra assistance to union members affected by the recent bushfires.

These donations can be monetary, or you can offer to donate your time and skills. 

Have you been affected? We will be by your side, every step of the way.

Union members can apply for additional financial assistance from the ACTU Bushfire Relief Fund-- this has been created by the union movement, and is open to union members who have suffered loss of income arising from the bushfire crisis.

Your union membership can provide you with extra support in difficult times. With ASU Member Advantage, you are able to access a wide range of discounts and benefits on major brands and entertainment.

If you have any other concerns about your employment arising from these bushfires, contact your union on 02 9310 4000.

It's time for Action on Climate Change

The events of this Summer have shown that we need immediate action on climate change. 

On February 22nd there will be a National Day of Action with actions and rallies in Sydney, Canberra, Newcastle, Melbourne, Fremantle, Blackheath, Lismore, Port Macquarie, Brisbane, Adelaide, Darwin, Geelong, Tamworth, Sawtell and Bega.

If you're in Sydney, join the march with ASU members at Sydney Town Hall.

Sydney Town Hall
Saturday, February 22nd

Share this event on Facebook to help spread the word

Save Our Buses - Family Fun Day

The light rail planning has been a debacle and our State Government continues to push forward with the privatisation of our bus services.

It’s been a challenging year already for ASU members and workers in the transport industry. The Family Fun Day will be hosted by the Rail, Tram and Bus Union and will be completely free, with rides, food stalls, live music, face painting and plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy.

We’ll even be inviting some of our politicians and inviting them to take the pledge to protect our public transport.

Come along and show your support for our public transport.

Sunday 23rd February, 11am-4pm
Prince Alfred Park near Central Station
Bring: sunscreen, hat and water bottle

Increasing Superannuation

no one should retire in poverty


This month, ASU members went to Parliament House in Canberra to #StandUpForSuper.

About 20 years ago, less than half of all workers had superannuation. As a result of union campaigns, today that figure is closer to 97%. We need to make super work for us so that no one retires in poverty. 

In 2014, the Liberal Government froze the minimum superannuation guarantee (the minimum super employees must pay to workers) at 9.5% 

The think tank Per Capita said "analysis of data since the guarantee was frozen in 2014 found that both take-home pay and super contributions had decreased". The idea that workers earn more money if super contributions are kept low is a myth.

Today women retire with average super balances of 47% less than their male counterparts. Super should be paid during parental leave and to those who earn less than $450 per month.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions has called for the minimum superannuation guarantee to be increased to 15%. Scott Morrison uses Australian tax dollars to pay himself 15.4% superannuation.

Instead of 15%, the Federal Government is planning to increase our super from 9.5% to 10% next year and then to slowly creep up to 12% by 2025. 

2020 Hub Days

Visit your local union office

This year we are holding regular open days at our offices in Redfern, Penrith, Lismore, Wollongong and Newcastle.

This will be a chance for members to meet and network with colleagues from across the sector. Our Member Assistance Team will be on hand to answer any questions about your rights work. We will have representatives from superannuation fund HESTA to help with your superannuation. Members will also learn how to make the most of your membership - from activating your Member Advantage account (and saving 5% on groceries and fuel) to registering for ASU Career Launchpad professional development courses).

The first Hub Day will be held at our Redfern office in March and all Sydney based members will be invited. 

Work Shouldn't Hurt

stress, bullying, overwork and other injuries


More than 26,000 working people responded to questions about their experiences of work health and safety, including the sorts of working conditions they had faced in the past 12 months.

  • 66% experienced high workloads;
  • 31% experienced occupational violence (abuse, threats, or assault at work by clients, customers, the public, or co-workers); and
  • 61% said they had experienced poor mental health because their employer or workplace had failed to manage to address these poor work conditions.

The Work Shouldn’t Hurt work health and safety survey exposes an underbelly of unsafe work practices that has led to unacceptable numbers of working people dying as a result of their work, being exposed to trauma, experiencing violence, or sustaining psychological/physical illnesses and injuries. 

We need a strong commitment from the Morrison Government and all states and territories to prevent workplace deaths and end all forms of workplace injuries, including psychosocial injuries.

We need better rights for workers’ representatives to enforce safety so that no one is hurt at work.

Speak to your ASU delegate or Union Organiser about Workplace Health and Safety at your work.

International Women's Day

We Won't Wait

800,000 women and 1 in 20 men will experience family or domestic violence this year.

To escape a violent relationship you have to take time off work. Many of the services that support women and their children are only available during business hours. Without paid leave, people experiencing violence simply don’t have time or resources to find a new, safe, place.

That's why the ASU is leading the campaign for 10 days paid family and domestic violence leave to be included in the National Employment Standards.

Every year for almost ninety years working women have protested and celebrated International Women's Day around the world. Join us at the Sydney International Women's Day march on Saturday, March 7th at 11am at Hyde Park North as we call on the Federal Government to support 10 days paid domestic violence leave for all workers.

New job? How to check your contract

Have you started a new job lately? Make sure you know how to check your new contract.

Whether you’ve just landed your first job or are changing careers, it’s useful to have a basic understanding of your rights at work. This information about contracts in the Community and Disability sector will help you make informed decisions before you start your new job.

Download your member-only Contract Kit here.

Boost Your Skills: Dealing With Difficult customers

ASU members can access online training and career development courses. These are free for union members, and participants are provided with a certificate of completion for each course.

Our next course is Dealing With Difficult Customers (Advanced). Learn practical takeaway tips and strategies for managing difficult interactions.

Dealing With Difficult Customers
Friday 6th March
RSVP essential

The course will be available on-demand following the live and interactive presentation. Find other on-demand Launchpad training courses here.