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NSW State Election 2023 - NCOSS Policy Priority 8

Strengthen sustainability of the NSW social service sector as a growth industry and key employer of women.

Our sector is the largest employer in Australia and is projected to grow even further, contributing $15.4 billion each year to the NSW economy. In the face of recent upheavals, demand for social services in NSW is rising yet government support remains stagnant. The sector is highly feminised and characterised by low pay, poor conditions and a large gender pay gap.

Below we outline our solution to this issue, and policy responses from the major parties in the lead up to the 2023 NSW State Election.

NCOSS recommendations

NCOSS calls on the next NSW Parliament to -

  • Extend standard contract lengths for social service sector grants to seven years and ten years for service delivery in rural and remote communities.
  • Introduce portability of entitlements, including long service leave, providing incentive for experienced staff to stay in the sector.
  • Introduce consistent, evidence-based indexation.
  • Develop a population-based funding model for the sector.

Coalition - NSW Liberal Party and NSW Nationals

No significant announcements identified.

The Greens NSW

Have committed to -

  • Abolish the public sector wage cap and delivering "real wage increases" as well as increased resourcing for frontline community, health and transport workers.
  • Support collective organising and the right to strike.
  • Introduce sector-wide bargaining across entire industries rather than restricted to single enterprises.
  • Introduce portable leave.

NSW Labor

Have committed to -

  • Introduce longer term five-year funding arrangements for key community service providers.
  • Establish a taskforce to engage with the sector on the development of a new funding framework and jobs compact. The taskforce will also work to standardise and streamline reporting and contract management.
  • Establish a whole-of-government pre-qualification process so that organisations don’t need to repeat onerous accreditation processes.
  • Review funding models to stop the "race to the bottom" on wages, provide secure jobs, and ensure adherence to award conditions.
  • Create a portable entitlement scheme for gig, disability, home care and other precarious workers that would allow all workers to accrue annual leave, long-service leave and other entitlements regardless of whether or not they are classified as employees.

Published February 2023. For reference and context, please visit NCOSS Policy Tracker 2023 and NCOSS Policy Platform 2023: Working Together for a Fairer NSW.

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