MEDIA RELEASE – 8 March 2017
Minister for Women Cash axes funding to QLD Women’s Service:
2.5 million QLD Women affected
IWD RALLY & MEDIA CONFERENCE
10AM, WEDNESDAY 8 MARCH
179 ANN ST, BRISBANE CBD
(Law Society House)
QLD, 8 March 2017: 2.5 million QLD women are hit by Federal Minister for Women and Employment Michaelia Cash’s funding cut to a vital QLD Women’s service on International Women’s Day: forcing it to shut its women’s workplace advisory program so that QLD women will no longer have access to help through the service when sacked or mistreated at work.
The workplace advisory services provided to up to 3000 QLD women each year by QWWS will cease this week, with staff stopping work on Wednesday in solidarity QLD women and the global Women’s strike movement on IWD.
“Our supporters will gather at a rally in Brisbane with us tomorrow to continue to fight for this vital t service for QLD women that has a history of more than 22 years,” Queensland Working Women’s Service Inc. (QWWS) Director Kerriann Dear said.
“We simply cannot fathom that at a time when the Minister for Women is also the Minister for Employment, that a service that is in such demand for the most vulnerable women in our QLD community, would be facing imminent closure,” she said.
“In solidarity with QLD Women and together with women globally striking tomorrow on IWD, our staff will stop work and our phone lines will be diverted to Minister Cash’s office.”
QWWS supporters will gather in Brisbane CBD to stage to protest the axing of the service.
QWWS as part of the national group of Working Women’s Centres is unique: offering free, specialised industrial advice to QLD Women on all workplace issues from unfair dismissal through to underpayment and discrimination, with a focus on helping QLD’s most vulnerable workers including:
l regional women
l young workers
l women working with a disability
l mature workers
l Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Women
l migrant women
l women from social and economic disadvantage; and
l sole parent mothers.
l domestic violence victims & Survivors
“We are passionate about the rights of our QLD working women; and it is tragic that the most vulnerable QLD Women will suffer the most as they rely on us for help with injustice at work,” Ms Dear said.
QLD Women now need of this service more than ever, with discrimination against pregnant and parenting women common and living wages recently reduced by up to $6000 per year in QLD’s top industries of hospitality and retail, where workers are disproportionately women.
In 2016 alone QWWS provided over 4000 specialist advice sessions to women about their work rights and advocacy on workplace issues: negotiating over $770,000 in justice for these women by way of settlements for outstanding pay and entitlements or compensation for alleged breaches of industrial and discrimination laws for working women. These services were provided free of charge, for the most vulnerable women in our QLD community.
For 22 years QLD Working Women, through QWWS, have gained justice and advocacy on a variety of issues in their working lives from unfair dismissal (42%) to discrimination, including on the grounds of pregnancy, caring responsibilities and race (28%) and workplace harassment and bullying (25%).
QWWS supporters call on Minister Michaelia Cash to exercise her power as Minister for Women and Employment to reinstate the funding necessary to keep this industrial service alive for QLD Working Women.
QWWS thanks the many Queenslanders who have voiced their support to save their service; as well as leading politicians, unions and community groups who have made their endorsements on the value of the service, which can be found on www.wwq.org.au and https://www.facebook.com/wwqld/
“On behalf of the 2.5 million QLD Women we represent and stand side by side in solidarity with on International Women’s Day, we send out a strong message that we do not want to close our doors and appeal to all levels of government to back us in our fight to keep this vital service for the Women of Queensland,” Ms Dear said.
QLD Women and the QLD community can join the campaign to save their service by:
- signing the petition online at www.wwq.org.au and/or www.facebook.com/wwqld and sharing with your online networks (#saveyourservice, #saveqwws)
- contacting Michaelia Cash to voice your concerns:
The Hon. Michaelia Cash, Federal Minster for Women and Employment:
Phone: (02) 6277 7320 Email: email@example.com
The community is invited to join our rally today to save this vital service for Queenslanders.
WHO: The Queensland Working Women’s Service (QWWS)
WHAT: Will stop work to protest funding cuts that will force the service to close, after 22 years helping the most vulnerable women in our community
WHEN: WEDNESDAY, March 8, International Women’s Day
WHERE: Outside Queensland Law Society House 179 Ann St City.
CONTACT: Tanie Harris Sansey 0410 525 869 / Kerriann Dear, 0401 519 566
What QLD Women say about QWWS:
Client QLD, 2015.
I would like to take this opportunity and say many many thanks to you and your organisation for the help , support , advise and assistance you have provided me over the last 3 months since i contacted you.
I would not have had the strength and the knowledge and confidence i have had today and will have in the near and distance future if it was not for the knowledge and research i have had to follow through following your advice .
I thank you and may you continue helping people like me who needed help and could not scream from the roof top but have someone willing to offer advice just a phone call away .
Manly West, QLD, 2015.
Thanks so much for your help and also fighting the good fight. Women are
so economically vulnerable during childbearing years and just do not have
the time, resources or energy to stand up for themselves without services
Waterford, QLD, 2015.
QWWS has been very helpful.
Thank you for the realistic truths as to what I was expected to be achieved. Thanks to all of you ladies.
Fortitude Valley, QLD, 2015.
I would like to thank you for the time and effort you have put into my claim.
You have been very helpful and I would not have concluded an agreement without your hard work.
We have settled an agreement, not entirely what I wanted, but I am really happy about it and I can now close this matter and focus on my next step and future!
Thank you again, for listening, and having so much attention on my needs.
You have been the best!
Brackenridge, QLD, 2015.
“I don’t think I could have gone ahead with my complaint at ADCQ if I did not have the assistance of QWWS. The outcome was in my favour so I’m very thankful to QWWS for their assistance.”
The Industrial Officer I got was quite simply amazing. Right from the very first conversation she calmed me, she helped me, and she gave me my confidence back.
I recently had my conciliation hearing with FWC, and my case was settled out of court which was a big relief to me as I didn’t want this dragging on for months. I went into my conference knowing my rights, knowing the legislation, and knowing that I was right, and therefore determined to get an outcome I deserved.
I am very happy to say that I got the outcome I wanted, and deserved, but I could not have done it without WWQ supporting me. I am so incredibly grateful to the the Industrial Officer, and always will be. She is my hero.
I really hope I never have to use WWQ Services again, but to know that this service is available gives me peace of mind.
We are grateful to you and WWQ and we will recommend your services to family and friends.
My rep was confident, experienced, kind and very patient with me.
The Industrial Officer was supportive, kind and went out of her way to communicate what was needed to outsource information to support my case. The IO had a clear understanding of the facts and didn’t give up and was professional at all times.
I could not have afforded legal advice; WWQ was a blessing and greatly contributed to a successful outcome with my return to work… I could not have asked more from the Industrial Officers, for their time, efforts and professionalism. The Industrial Officer was so patient with me when considering options, explaining legal terms and benefits to me. Excellent service.
I appreciated your support and assistance along the way. There is no way I would have had the confidence to stand my ground and end up with the settlement that I did without WWQ’s guidance. I found it an excellent service and thank you again.
“thank you all so much from the bottom of my heart, knowing you all definitely is one the best thing of my life during my stay in Australia and I am glad I am finally able to put the whole thing behind, without your help I can not kept fighting and made it to the end, thank you for stick up with my case I would be forever grateful and continue to do what is right”.
WWQ were really understanding, and professional in the way they helped me.
There are so many women out there that need WWQ
Seventeen Mile Rocks, 2016
The women who work at WWQ are amazing, being able to talk about these issues with insightful women has made the difference to me.
I had a really positive experience, the staff are excellent.
“the lady I had was full of knowledge, I was pleasantly surprised that WWQ did exist. Hadn’t heard of WWQ before, the lady made alot of sense, and gave very practical advice.”