Sue Ellery

Sue Ellery

Minister for Child Protection; Communities; Women's Interests; Seniors and Volunteering

    WA women are doing it tough under WorkChoices

    16/08/2007 11:00 AM

    Western Australian women are feeling vulnerable in their employment as a result of the negative effects of the Howard Government’s WorkChoices legislation.

    ‘A Study of Low Paid Work and Low Paid Workers in Western Australia’, undertaken by Women in Social and Economic Research at Curtin University, draws upon the experiences of low paid female workers from the child-care, aged-care, cleaning, hospitality and retail sectors.

    Women’s Interests Minister Sue Ellery said the new study had indicated the State’s booming economy was cushioning some of the effects of WorkChoices, but there was little evidence of employees having an improved capacity to negotiate individually tailored working conditions.

    “Employees would rather look for another job than engage in individual negotiations or work under an AWA,” Ms Ellery said.

    “In this regard, WA women are luckier than females working in low paid jobs in other States, as the high demand for workers and low unemployment rate means women have the option of finding work somewhere else.”

    The Minister said despite employment flexibility resulting from Western Australia’s strong economy, the study indicated that the changes to unfair dismissal laws left women feeling vulnerable and insecure in their employment.

    “The findings suggest that the WorkChoices system is no simpler, and that there is confusion and a high level of uncertainty regarding wages, penalty payments and working hours amongst low paid female workers in WA,” she said.

    The Western Australian study, supported by the Carpenter Government, was linked to the national Women and WorkChoices report released earlier this week.

    The national report documented interviews with over 120 low-income women across the country and showed that many women working in low paid jobs were doing it tough and that WorkChoices had turned an economic issue into a social issue for Australia.

    ‘A study of Low Paid Work and Low Paid Workers in Western Australia’ can be downloaded from

    Minister's Office - 9213 7150