Cuts to centres should be based on need
CUTTING funding for community resource centres would hit rural women hard, the Greens have warned in the wake of International Women’s Day.
Greens South West MLC Diane Evers said she had written to Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan urging the Government to reconsider a 40 per cent cut flagged last year.
“I’ve written to the minister, Alannah MacTiernan, because she’s one that’s often fought for women to have equal pay and her party of course wants that,” Ms Evers said. If adopted, the cuts would reverse increases granted five or six years ago to ensure fair pay for a largely female workforce, Ms Evers said.
“Staff in CRCs have in the past predominantly been underpaid women, but in recent years they have been put onto a Federal award wage and equal remuneration order that saw them being paid a fair and reasonable wage,” she said.
Not-for-profit community centre advocacy group Linkwest in February reiterated its opposition to a cut of about 40 per cent, or $5 million, to total CRC funding in 2019-20.
The cut would result in “job losses and significantly reduced hours and wages for the many staff who work part-time in these centres and probably closure for some,” Linkwest chief executive officer Jane Chilcott said.
Linkwest welcomed the review which Ms MacTiernan announced last year and in February said would be completed by mid 2018.
However, it has voiced concerns about its terms of reference.
The review should be independent and built on Curtin University’s extensive research, Ms Chilcott said.
It should be based on community need, include consultation, and be made public.
Where CRCs were to have funding cut, the review should also identify how government services would be provided, she said.
Ms Chilcott said Linkwest acknowledged the State’s budget difficulties but the review should consider how CRCs help deliver regional services “in a cost effective and efficient way”.