From the Chair – Leah Mertens
It has been an uncertain and challenging year for the service and on behalf of the Management Committee of The Queensland Working Women’s Service Inc., I extend my warm thanks to my fellow Committee members, to Kerriann Dear the Director and to the staff of the service. QWWS with limited resources has focused our attention and delivery of services to the most vulnerable women throughout the state. In the increasingly complex and legalistic arena of industrial relations, women, particularly the most vulnerable, report back to us that this type of access to quality advice and assistance is highly valued.
The insecurities faced by QWWS about our ongoing funding from the Commonwealth Government have dominated the attention of the Committee who have had to make difficult decisions in an ongoing effort to keep the service going until some certainty could be established. The funding concerns do not change the need for the service and QWWS continues to respond to the high volume of requests for work while ensuring a quality service to those who need it most through the Working Women Queensland program.
This year there were two significant achievements for the Committee, the first is in attaining public benevolent status (also deductible gift recipient) with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission and the Australian Tax Office in March 2016. This means that : All Donations made to QWWS are now fully tax deductible. QWWS are also able to offer salary sacrifice arrangements that improve the working conditions of staff. The Committee were grateful for the assistance of Neumann Turn our Lawyers in providing expertise in guiding the Committee through this process and contributing to a successful application. Secondly, the QWWS Enterprise Agreement was also formalized in March and continues to provide best practice conditions for staff of a not-for-profit organisation including access to paid parental leave and domestic violence leave.
In October 2015 QWWS celebrated twenty years of services to the community and this was marked by a lunch jointly supported by the Industrial Relations Society of Queensland. The event was well attended and a panel of experts explored the topic of domestic violence and work. Domestic violence is no longer considered to be a private or personal matter and Australia is leading the way in providing protections in the workplace with QWWS at the forefront of advocating for this attention. I congratulate the service on it’s achievements in this area and in recognising that domestic violence is everybody’s business.
QWWS expresses thanks to the Fair Work Ombudsman and the Office of Industrial Relations (QLD) for their funding and support throughout this year and we looking forward to continued funding for the 2016-17 financial year.
For the full report click here: wwq-web