Community & disability services newsletter

Posted on
December 1, 2020
Social Community and Disability Sector

Your sector update.

Disability Workers Week 

Disability Workers Week is kicking off across the state this Sunday 6 December, running through until 12 December, and over the week, we’ll be highlighting to the community that disability workers are essential workers too.

Far too often, disability support workers are overlooked compared to other frontline workers like doctors, nurses and paramedics.

This pandemic has brought a lot of attention to hospitals and aged care, but the disability sector should also have been in the spotlight.

Throughout Disability Workers Week, we’ll be visiting workplaces, running BBQs and holding other community events to highlight the invaluable and essential work that disability support workers do.

If you get involved in these activities, you’ll get the chance to win one of many exciting prizes. There will be on-the-spot prizes of$50 gift vouchers up for grabs, as well as our major prize draw where you can enter to win one of 3 main prizes – $600, $300 and $150 in your choice of Coles or Woolies gift cards. (Terms and conditions apply.)

Events include:


•  Sunday 6 December: BBQ at the Bluff Playground (41 Bluff Road, Devonport) from 12.30pm–2.30pm (RSVP)

•  Monday 7 December: Wobble boarding on the bridge over the Mersey River (meet on the East Devonport side) from 8am


•  Monday 7 December: BBQ at Burnie Park (near back carpark, playground & giant freshwater lobster artwork) 12.30pm–2.30pm (RSVP)


•  Tuesday 8 December: Wobble boarding the intersection of Patterson Street and Wellington Street from 8am

•  Tuesday 8 December: BBQ at Hoo Hoo Haven, Heritage Forest (Conway Street, Mowbray) from 12–2pm (RSVP)


•  Thursday 10 December: Drinks at The Republic Bar (in the beer garden) from 5–7pm (RSVP)

•  Friday 11 December: Wobble boarding at the intersection of the Brooker Highway and Risdon Road from 8am

•  Saturday 12 December: BBQ at Benjafield Park (7 Gormanston Road, Moonah) from 12–2.30pm (RSVP)

Each event disability workers attends earns you an entry into the major prizes draw.

The prizes will be drawn on Tuesday, 15 December.  


Respectful workplace training  

After staff and management at a disability services organisation contacted us with concerns about potential bullying, racial discrimination and indiscretions on social media, HACSU came in to run Respectful Workplace Training for the organisation.

Rather than go down the disciplinary route, the organisation came to us about the issues and we were able to run the training session, which covers acceptable and unacceptable behaviours in the workplace from employers and staff.

Our training gives everyone the knowledge they need about how to maintain a respectful workplace and how to change behaviours if needed.  

We’ve seen an increase in disability sector workers getting into trouble after posts on social media, so we also help staff understand what can land you in hot water on that front.

We’ve had great feedback from participants who attended Respectful Workplace Training sessions, so if you think it might be useful at your workplace just send us an email at or ring us on 1300 880 032 to enquire about organising a session.  


Is big brother watching? 

We recently wrote to the management of a north west disability group home where workers had raised the fact that they’d been feeling anxious about the cameras mounted inside the home and uncertainty about whether they were operational.

There were no signs to say the cameras were operating and no material provided to staff to let them know about the cameras’ function, so we asked if the cameras were indeed in use – and, if so, whether they were being used to constantly monitor staff or simply to log footage in case an incident calls for a review.

Management wrote back to say that whilst they were installed as part of the build, they were not currently using them, and they understood that if they did decide to use them they would need consent from both staff and clients prior to doing so.

Not that anyone at any disability home would be doing anything they shouldn’t anyway, but anytime cameras are monitoring staff or clients, everyone should be made aware of it and a process should be put in place so that staff know what the cameras are there for (and whether they are audio-capable).

If you believe there are cameras watching your every move and you’ve never been told or consulted about it, give HACSUassist a call on1300 880 032.  


Final payment of the Equal Remuneration Order (ERO) 

You may be aware that in the first full pay period on or after 1 December 2020, the final ever payment of the ERO will be paid to social and community services employees and crisis accommodation employees.

Here is a brief snapshot of the history of the Equal Remuneration Order:

This order was designed to be an equaliser to bring the predominantly female social and community services workforce in line with male pay rates for performing similar work.

As of 1 December 2020, once the final increase has been paid, there will have been 9 instalments of the ERO since 2012.

It is also worth noting that we are currently going through a dispute process with a well-known community services sector employer, as they now want to withhold the final ERO payment from their staff due to a conscious decision they made in 2012 to pay an above-Award rate (commonly known as an “ex gratia” payment).

The employer has met with affected staff to try to sell it to them that, unless they can withhold the final ever ERO payment, hours of work will be reduced and some programs may not run.

For the record, the ERO does not come out of the employer’s own pocket, as it is funded by the government. Employers are required to pass on the ERO increase to applicable staff on the first full pay period on or after 1 December 2020.

This employer’s behaviour sums up 2020 perfectly, considering all of the bizarre happenings that we have endured this year to date – not to mention being pretty poor form coming out of the COVID pandemic and being this close to Christmas.

We need to fight to maintain a decent wage in the community and disability sectors, because Fair Work increases just won’t cut the mustard as we move forward in these challenging times.  


HACSU has you covered.

If you need any more information, just give us a call on1300 880 032 or reply to this email.

For more information about this or any other industrial matter, members should contact HACSUassist on 1300 880 032 or email or complete our online contact form

Social Community and Disability Sector