WEL Media Release 6 August 2022 

WEL has written to the Treasurer, the Minister for Women, the Minister for Industrial Relations and the Minister for Skills and Training to urge recognition of the real value of skills in the care and service industries. See the reply here.

‘For the Summit to realise its ambitious goals, women need to be well-represented, including culturally and linguistically diverse women, First Nations women, women of all abilities, and women of diverse sexual orientations’, said Philippa Hall WEL spokesperson on work and pay equity.

There must be strong representation of the service occupations and industries in which women are concentrated, and which make up a significant proportion of jobs’. 

Philippa Hall emphasised WEL’s view that the Summit needs to ‘initiate ‘fine-grained’ understanding of the complexity and value of the skills in service occupations. This will support recruitment, retention, education, training, and development of workers in those occupations’. 

‘We have pointed out to the Ministers in charge of the Summit  that over many decades WEL, feminist unions and advocates have seen women in service and care occupations suffering under-evaluations,  under-payments and related workforce shortages (for example, in early childhood education and training, aged care, and disability care, among others).’

‘We put to the Ministers that the skills needed in service occupations such as aged care, disability care and early childhood learning and care include minute-by-minute judgement, awareness, interaction and coordination. If we want the best quality of care and service for children, older people and people with a disability amongst others, a well-developed appreciation of those skills is fundamental.’  

‘The skills needed in service occupations are learned in many different ways, beyond formal education and qualifications.  Understanding the nature of the skills and the processes of acquiring them is fundamental to identifying and supporting mobility within and between the occupations’.

Philippa Hall said that WEL’s letter draws the Ministers’ attention to the ‘significant body of work done by researchers, educators and trainers in Australia. 

‘This work has developed a sophisticated and well-grounded appreciation of the skills used and needed for service occupations to contribute to the highest quality services’. 

‘WEL is familiar with much of this work, which has been used in industrial cases, including those for social and community workers, early childhood educators, aged care workers, and school support workers, but is not yet reflected in national skills, industry and productivity policy.’   

‘WEL wants to see such current and complex understanding of service skills recognised in the Jobs and Skills Summit. We have asked for the Government’s advice on how the matters we are raising will be considered in the Summit.

WEL Media Contact Philippa Hall 0466273308

Women's Electoral Lobby Au


Women's Electoral Lobby is a national, independent, non-party political, feminist lobby group working to ensure the rights of Australian women are protected.