Posted on 27. Oct, 2010 in News

A $4.9 million black hole in Ted Baillieu’s plan to hire more case workers means an $11,300 pay cut for Victoria’s case workers.

Treasurer John Lenders said Mr Baillieu released plans for an extra 60 case workers today but had only provided $16.9 million to pay these workers when in fact it would cost at least $21.8 million – a funding gap that can only be paid for by slashing the pay of Victoria’s case workers.

“Ted Baillieu would have to pay for his funding gap by slashing the pay of Victoria’s case workers,” Mr Lenders said.

“Just like Tony Abbott, Ted Baillieu is refusing to submit his election promises to the independent Victorian Treasury for costing.

“This is why Mr Baillieu must submit his policies for costing by the independent Victorian Treasury.  Mr Baillieu’s undercosting will dramatically affect the livelihood of Victoria’s frontline workers.

“The only way to find the true cost and the other implications of Mr Baillieu’s election promises is by having them assessed by the independent Victorian Treasury and posted on their website for the public to see.

“This is a tricky plan to cut the wages of Victoria’s case workers. WorkChoices is alive and well in Ted Baillieu’s plan to cut case worker pay.”

Minister for Mental Health and Community Services Lisa Neville said the Brumby Labor Government had always been committed to supporting vulnerable families and children.

“We have committed record funding to helping vulnerable Victorians through difficult times including delivering more than $330 million in the past two years alone,” Ms Neville said.

“We are reforming the sector, with more staff, more support for children in care and a greater focus on supporting families to keep them together long term.”

Ms Neville said much of the Opposition’s policy was already being implemented by the Brumby Labor Government, including priority access to mental health services for kids in care, educational assessments for kids in care and support to increase the skill of vulnerable parents.

“Our reforms are making a difference and that has been acknowledged by the sector. Thanks to our investment in the workforce, we now have around 100 more workers in the child protection sector than this time a year ago,” Ms Neville said.

“From this year’s Budget alone, we invested in more support for agencies to help vulnerable families before they reach crisis, through counselling, advice, in-home support and respite.

“We are expanding the number and quality of out-of-home care placements to meet the increasingly complex needs of children entering the care system and providing more therapeutic care options.

“We are also expanding the operations of the Office of the Child Safety Commissioner to improve accountability and monitoring of child protection, investing in more workers to expand health services for traumatised children and early childhood development workers to strengthen the links between children’s services.

“We acknowledge there is more to do and we are focussed on getting on with the job.

“Since 1999 our Government has increased the budgets for family and community services and, statutory child protection services by 163 per cent, from $215.8 million a year to $568 million a year.”

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