Relocation payment helps Colanda staff

Colanda workers have won a campaign for an acceptable transfer agreement when Colac’s disability care centre closes and residents move to purpose-built homes. But they continue to fight privatisation of disability services.

Colac’s Colanda employees are claiming victory after securing a “decent” financial agreement for when the centre closes.

Workers moving from Colanda to work in new disability accommodation in Colac will receive $5500, those redeployed to disability accommodation outside Colac will receive $33,500, and workers leaving their jobs will get redundancy payments plus up to an extra $28,750.

The Health And Community Services Union has also negotiated relocation packages for workers, including up to $94,000 towards buying a new home outside Colac, and travel allowances for workers who take a disability accommodation job elsewhere but continue to live in Colac.

But the union has vowed to continue its fight against privatisation of Victoria’s public disability services, with Colanda workers still facing cuts of between $86 and $470 a week if they move from public sector to private sector jobs.

HACSU state secretary Lloyd Williams said he congratulated Colanda staff for “the long campaign for a decent transfer agreement”, but warned that staff still faced great uncertainty.

“The payments within the closure agreement are fair compensation for the impact on workers and their family life, which in many cases will mean uprooting and living in a new place,” Mr Williams said.

“The agreement also provides incentives for staff to move with residents, so it’s also a win for the continuity and quality of care and support for residents in the transfer process.

“It has taken 10 months to get this agreement and Colanda members have been very patient and remained strong throughout,” he said.

“Workers have fought hard for their rights, and the rights of residents.”

For the full story see today’s Colac Herald.

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