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Central Coast deserves better than 300 job cuts and slashed vital services says union

Apr 3, 2017

PSA Media release:

The NSW Government has slashed 300 public sector jobs on the Central Coast, with the privatisation of Disability Services and Out Of Home Care now also eating away at the community said the Public Service Association (PSA).

“This is a Government that just builds roads, not communities or a society,” said PSA General Secretary, Stewart Little.

“The Central Coast is out of sight and out of mind as far as this Government is concerned with the highest rate of vulnerable children in Out Of Home Care of all FACS districts in the state.”

“The Government’s ongoing privatisation agenda is setting up the Central Coast to fail spectacularly.”

“If the Government really wants to make a difference to the lives of the people of NSW, it should urgently rethink the catastrophic plan to privatise the Land Titles Registry, a move condemned by everyone from academics to property developers and pull back from the forced transfer of state disability services.”

“The Government trumpets its efforts on ‘life-changing projects’ but what could be more life changing for millions of people across NSW than to lose the security on their property?

“What could be more life changing for tens of thousands of families than to have the care of loved ones with disability thrown into free fall after the Government completely steps away from that space?”

“NSW will be the only state in Australia with no Government safety net for people with disability.”

“On the Central Coast alone, that will impact on 2,735 clients.”

“This is a Government that washes its hands of all social responsibility whether it’s starving the world class TAFE system of funds while throwing millions at dodgy private providers or pushing vulnerable kids into a non-Government Out of Home Care system and then reading the horror stories in the media.”

The NSW Government employs almost 10% of all workers in the Central Coast and is by far the largest employer in the region.

Baird makes failed privatised child protection a “priority”

Nov 30, 2016

Media release:

Premier Mike Baird has officially declared propping up the failed privatised child protection system remains a priority for his Government said the Public Service Association (PSA).

The announcement was made as part of the “Premier’s Priorities Update” – listing 12 areas of Government focus.

Tragically, “Protecting our kids” came in at Number 7.

“Despite tragic evidence to the contrary, the Baird Government has prioritised persisting with the failed experiment of outsourcing child protection, yet expects the outcome to somehow miraculously change,” said PSA Assistant General Secretary, Troy Wright.

“12 months on from the initial announcement that there would be a 15% reduction in re-reporting of children at risk – there has been no improvement.”

“Despite the rapidly growing numbers of children reported to be at risk of significant harm and the ever increasing number taken into care, this Government refuses to increase the numbers of Community Services child protection caseworkers.”

“As the PSA highlighted recently to the Upper House Inquiry into Child Protection, there has been no increase in caseworker numbers since 2008. In fact, there are fewer funded caseworkers in Community Services today than eight years ago.”

“If the Premier is serious about effectively tackling child protection which is spiralling out of control,  he needs to increase resources and caseworkers in Community Services.”

“At present Community Services caseworkers being set up to fail,” said Troy Wright.

Four Corners exposes critical need for Government child protection services

Nov 22, 2016

Four Corners exposes critical need for government child protection services (PDF version)

The ABC’s Four Corners ‘Broken Homes’ investigation has tragically reinforced what the PSA has been red flagging for years: the critical need for Government-operated child protection services rather than for-profit care.

PSA Assistant General Secretary, Troy Wright has said:

“What does it say about a Government – and a society – when the care and protection of desperate vulnerable children is used to make a dollar?”

You can read the PSA’s full media release HERE.

Have your voice heard on this important issue

The Association’s federal counterpart, the CPSU, in consultation with the PSA, has released a petition calling on all State and Territory governments to immediately end contracts with private providers and move all child protection residential care back into public hands.

Please sign this important petition HERE.

The PSA submission to the Legislative Council Inquiry into Child Protection made the same observations about the failings of the privatisation of Out of Home Care in NSW.

You can read the full submission HERE.

PSA opposes privatisation

Workers, communities, families and even children are being ripped off by unscrupulous “entrepreneurs” profiting from other people’s misfortune and misery. Every dollar in profit is a dollar robbed from directly supporting children.

Your union will continue to fight for properly resourced and publicly run child protection services that support vulnerable children in NSW.

Four Corners exposes critical need for Government child protection services

Nov 15, 2016

PSA media release:

The ABC’s Four Corners ‘Broken Homes’ investigation has tragically reinforced what the Public Service Association (PSA) has been red flagging for years: the critical need for Government operated child protection services rather than for-profit care.

“What does it say about a Government – and a society – when the care and protection of desperate vulnerable children is used to make a dollar?” said PSA Assistant General Secretary, Troy Wright.

“The Baird Government has been pushing to privatise and in the process, wash its hands of responsibility for this most crucial of community provisions.”

“Staff at Community Services have decades of expertise and experience in the area and are only concerned with the safety and well being of these kids. The last thing on their minds is making a profit.”

“There is no effective regulation and no accountability – financially or in terms of service standards – in the private sector – an absolutely horrifying thought in the context of child protection.”

“Invariably, when the private sector is unable to cope, after the critical damage is done, these poor kids are shipped back to Community Services who have to try and repair these human tragedies as best they can.”

“Why not simply properly resource the public sector in the first instance and stamp out a virtual trade in harmed children?”

“If Government needs to be held to account morally and ethically for anything, surely it must be child protection,” said Troy Wright.

Staff shortages ’cause of delays’

Nov 4, 2016

New PSA Assistant General Secretary, Troy Wright goes to bat for members at the Community Services helpline in today’s Telegraph.

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Minister disconnected from real Community Services helpline problems

Nov 4, 2016

PSA media release

Media reports that a police officer attempting to report a case of child abuse to Community Services was placed on hold for 12 hours by the Department’s Helpline come as no surprise said the Public Service Association (PSA).

The union has repeatedly raised concerns regarding work overload and staffing issues with the Department and met with FACS Secretary Michael Coutts-Trotter as recently as mid September 2016 about these matters.

Minister Brad Hazzard however appears to blame Helpline staff and is using his Government’s underresourcing of the service to justify radical plans to decentralise it.

“It’s unfortunate the Minister chooses to attack Community Services casework staff, when the real issue is and has always been funding,” said PSA Assistant General Secretary, Troy Wright.

“The 12 hour wait for the police officer was due to a technical issue created by one of the other models on trial.”

“The tragic fact is the need for child protection as a core statutory role of Government is growing rapidly but staffing and resourcing in Community Services has been cut to the point where it is becoming dangerously compromised.”

“There has been a 20% increase in call volume from last year but this has not been matched with an increase in Caseworker numbers.”

“The Helpline received almost one quarter of a million calls last year from police officers, teachers, nurses and community members reporting potential abuse or neglect.”

“The Helpline has been woefully understaffed on most weekends for the past 2 to 3 years since the rosters were changed.”

“Many calls result in multiple reports being generated and on weekends far more complex matters are received which take more time and resources to process.”

“The Government should stop creating doubt in the mind of the public regarding the essential service our Community Services Officers provide merely to pursue another agenda, and instead concentrate its efforts on resourcing and supporting the Helpline in response to increased demand,” said Troy Wright.

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