The Baillieu-Ryan Government has blocked calls for Minister for Employment, Richard Dalla -Riva to explain why the Coalition has abandoned some of Victoria's most vulnerable workers who have benefitted from free, confidential advice and information from JobWatch for over 30 years.
Premier Ted Baillieu’s decision to dump funding for JobWatch in his first Budget will leave thousands of Victorian workers in the lurch when trying to get support or assistance to understand and enforce their rights, Shadow Minister for Employment Tim Pallas said today.
Mr Pallas said JobWatch had provided free and confidential advice to around 20,000 people every year on unfair dismissal, harassment, bullying and wage related issues for over 30 years, and condemned the lack of funding as myopic and unfair.
“Ted Baillieu has shown that he simply does not care about the rights of everyday Victorian workers. He has no plan to drive jobs in our state and no policies to protect jobs,” Mr Pallas said.
“Proving that talk is cheaper than action, Treasurer Kim Wells failed to mention jobs or employment once in his Budget address.
“Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations, Richard Dalla-Riva, is too weak to stand up to Mr Baillieu and secure funding for JobWatch.
“JobWatch is an essential service that provides free and confidential advice and assistance to some of Victoria’s most vulnerable workers when they are most in need.
“The Baillieu Coalition Government has de-funded JobWatch and barring a miracle, JobWatch will have to close its doors on 30 June 2011.
Minister Dalla-Riva needs to come clean about his intentions after writing that JobWatch’s funded activities were “no longer aligned to the objectves of the department”.
“The de-funding of JobWatch is a petty and malicious act that would have made Jeff Kennett blush.”
Upper House Member for Western Victoria Jaala Pulford said the community and Labor had long recognised the importance of JobWatch’s work to advise workers facing uncertainty about their rights or enduring unfair or illegal behaviour such as bullying at work.
“Without a hint of irony, the Government will pass Brodie’s Law in the Legislative Assembly this week, but at the same time it’s cut funding to one of the very places that workers go to understand their rights under such circumstances” Ms Pulford said.
“If JobWatch closes its doors, many victims of workplace bullying in Victorian will have no place to go. Victoria’s working families were promised more than this and Mr Baillieu must stop treating them with contempt.”