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Pay mental health workers fairly

Mental health workers need to be paid fairly so that droves of people don’t leave the sector while it is in crisis, the Green Party said today.

“The Government needs to act quickly to ensure that mental health workers are being paid fairly, otherwise essential staff will choose to leave to work in better paid sectors,” Green Party social development spokesperson Jan Logie said.

“Mental health work is a female dominated industry  but that is no excuse to continue underpaying staff.

“The mental health sector is under sustained pressure on all fronts. People working in mental health are underpaid, overworked and dealing with more patients with fewer resources.

“The Government forced the unions to exclude mental health workers so that the care and disability support worker pay settlement could happen. It was the only way for these workers to get a pay increase, but it has created huge discrepancies across the sector.

“Staff doing mental health support work are paid $6 an hour less than aged care and disability support workers doing similar jobs, sometimes with the same employer.

“The Government created this problem and now they need to fix it. The Green Party supports resolving this claim urgently. We do not believe the country can afford further delay.

“The Green Party announced on Saturday at a pay equity rally that in Government we will proactively identify why women are being paid less and fix it. We need to remove barriers to pay equity to make sure all women are paid fairly.

“Women have been underpaid and undervalued for too long – it is time for a bold government move on pay equity,” Ms Logie said.