I raise a matter for the Deputy Premier and Minister for Industrial Relations in the other place. On 26 August the Deputy Premier announced the inaugural meeting of Victoria’s first Working Families Council. The council will work with industry and community groups to champion the issues of working families in their efforts to strike the right work and family balance.
When making this announcement the Deputy Premier said:
- The establishment of the Working Families Council recognises the importance of making work and family balance a reality for all Victorian workers.
This council is a great initiative by the Brumby government.
During the Howard government’s tenure it has become increasingly difficult for working families to get by. There have been six straight interest rate rises, there has been a 21.4 per cent increase in the cost of essentials like food and a 41.8 per cent increase in petrol costs in the last five years. WorkChoices has stripped away workers rights, reduced pay packets and extended working hours without consultation or overtime pay. This unfair legislation has resulted in many Victorian employees working on weekends and public holidays rather than spending time with their families.
I congratulate the Deputy Premier and the Brumby government on the Working Families Council, an initiative which will be welcomed by families in Victoria who are struggling with WorkChoices, rising petrol and food costs, interest rate rises and a Prime Minister who has no idea what they are going through.
I ask the Deputy Premier to provide me with the process and time lines that will apply to the Working Families Council in developing and recommending work-family balance strategies.