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Not good enough for the Kiwis, not good enough for us

Mar 17, 2017

PSA Media release:

If private prison operator Serco is not good enough for a prison in New Zealand, it should not be put in charge of NSW jails, says the Public Service Association (PSA).

Serco is one of the companies behind the Northern Pathways Consortium, which has been chosen by the Berejikilan Government to run a new privately run prison to be built outside Grafton.

Last year Serco was stripped of its contract to run Auckland’s Mt Eden prison after evidence surfaced of ‘fight clubs’ operating among inmates under what was discovered to be insufficient supervision of prisoners.

“We’re falling behind New Zealand here,” says PSA General Secretary Stewart Little.

“They discovered there is no place for this company in Mt Eden, yet we refuse to learn from their experience.

“Successful, efficiently run correctional facilities in Nowra, Cessnock, Kempsey and Wellington prove that if governments invest the money, they will get results.

“No private company should be profiting from crime.”

In addition to Mt Eden, Serco has lost contracts to run immigration-detention facilities on Manus Island and prisoner-transport operations in Western Australia.

In Britain, the company was criticised after the death of a 14-year-old boy in a Durham secure training centre.

Shameful Hunter Visit by Minister for Disability Services – Shuns Meeting People with Disabilities

Mar 14, 2017

PSA Media release:

The new Minister for Disability Services has shunned people with disability, their support staff and families, failing to meet with them on his first trip to the Hunter under his new portfolio.

The Public Service Association (PSA) said it was disgraceful Ray Williams instead chose to speak with big business on how it can profit from the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

“This proves the Berejiklian Government is not serious about caring for some of society’s most disadvantaged people and their families,” said PSA Assistant General Secretary, Troy Wright, who was in Newcastle to protest against Williams’s visit.

“Ray Williams comes to the Hunter region and doesn’t visit a group home, doesn’t visit his department’s clients, doesn’t visit their families and doesn’t visit staff,” Mr Wright said.

“Yet the Minister has plenty of time to go to a business club function and talk to his big business mates about how people can make a quick buck from the NDIS.”

Mr Williams was appointed Minister for Disability Services in the recent Berejiklian cabinet reshuffle. Since then he has been embroiled in a scandal alleging he received donations from property developers.

“That Mr Williams is the 23rd-ranked minister in a 23-person ministry says a lot about the priority the State Government gives care of people with disability in NSW,” Mr Wright said.

“The PSA wants the Government to slow down on its implementation of the NDIS, which it is using to flog off all care for people with a disability to the private sector, reducing clients’ choice and cutting out a safety net for some of the most disadvantaged members of our society.”

Fraser unphased as Coast hit hard by Housing NSW cuts

Feb 6, 2017

PSA media release:

The mid north coast will bear the brunt of plans to slash almost 200 jobs and close offices of Housing NSW, without a word of protest from the National’s Member for Coffs Harbour, Andrew Fraser, said the Public Service Association (PSA).

The effects will be felt from Woolgoolga to Port Macquarie with the region hit by 25% of the total state wide cuts.

Former Minister for Social Housing, Brad Hazzard announced in October 2016 the state will put to tender the transfer on a leasehold basis of 18,000 public housing properties, placing management in non-government /private hands.

Rather than this transfer, with associated job losses, being spread evenly aross the state, the mid north coast is one of four regions where everything will go.

“The National’s  Member for Coffs Harbour, Andrew Fraser has been very vocal about the importance of jobs and services in the region,” said PSA Assistant General Secretary, Troy Wright.

“Now with Public Housing about to be literally wiped off the map in the area he has not said a word.”

“The question is why is the mid North Coast being singled out and hit with a quarter of the job cuts in Housing across the state?”

The only winners will be investors and developers, not the people of NSW with some familiar names emerging.

“Serco, best known for the operation of private prisons, have, somewhat ironically  already expressed an interest in a stake in the outsourced public housing market,” said Troy Wright.

In addition to arranging critical accommodation for some of society’s most disadvantaged, Housing NSW workers also provide comprehensive support to tenants enabling access to a wide range of disability and other services.

The job cuts and office closures will have a devastating impact on the mid north coast.

“Job cuts in regional areas are felt far more deeply in rural regions than in metropolitan areas due to the direct impact on local economies and communities,” said Troy Wright.

Offices will also be closed, jobs slashed and properties transferred in the following areas:

  • Hunter New England District, excluding the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie local government areas
  • Northern Sydney District, excluding the Ivanhoe estate
  • Shoalhaven Local Government Area.

Union hopes new Premier has a heart for a new start

Jan 24, 2017

PSA Media release:

The Public Service Association (PSA) congratulates Gladys Berejiklian on her elevation to the position of Premier.

It hopes the new leader’s approach of listening to the community will translate into the preservation in Government hands of quality public services for the people of NSW.

Under Mike Baird, the NSW Government was striding determinedly towards critical privatisations such as the sell-off of public disability services and the Land Titles Registry.

“The New Premier has stated that ‘people want to be heard’ and that it was ‘time to make sure everyone got their slice of the pie’” PSA General Secretary, Stewart Little said.

“The public needs the new Premier – unlike her predecessor – to show she has a heart in meeting its needs by supporting quality public services.”

“On that basis, a strong start for Ms Berejiklian would be to rethink the sale and total dismantling of public disability services and the sell-off of the Land Titles Registry.”

“People with disability will go into free fall without a strong Government safety net and the sale of the Land Titles Registry – which has been universally condemned by former staff, academics and even property developers – will have an enormous detrimental impact on the NSW economy.

“Surely, given the Premier’s experience in Treasury, the implications of the Land Titles sale should set off alarm bells.”

Corrections Day must lead to improved workers comp for Prison Officers

Jan 20, 2017

PSA media release:

The Public Service Association (PSA) welcomes the introduction of the inaugural Corrections Day on Friday 20 January 2017 and calls on the NSW Government to recognise Prison Officers as emergency services personnel for the purposes of workers compensation.

Police and other emergency personnel were exempt from the savage workers compensation reforms of the O’Farrell Government in 2012.

The union believes that Prison Officers should also have been granted exemptions from the cuts.

“Prison Officers go to work each day in the most dangerous environment in the country,” said PSA General Secretary, Stewart Little.

“Prison Officers are the bobbies on the beat, firefighters, nurses, paramedics and much more. They are the 24 hour a day crisis resolvers.”

“It’s time the NSW Government properly recognised their role and provided the same workers compensation entitlements as other emergency services personnel.”

“There aren’t too many workplaces in the world where the riot squad is on stand by when a ban on smoking is introduced.”

“Overcrowding has exaserbated the situation, making a dangerous environment potentially lethal given when emotions do explode it’s Prison Officers who put their bodies on the line to deal with individuals who have nothing to lose.”

“Prison Officers stand between some of the state’s most notorious criminals and the community but are expected to do so without adequate workers compensation protection for them and their families.”

“That situation must change,” said Stewart Little.

Baird steps down leaving “for sale” sign on NSW

Jan 19, 2017

Mike Baird turned NSW into the “For Sale State” and his decision to step down as Premier is akin to an auctioneer walking out during a failing auction said the Public Service Association (PSA).

“Mike Baird’s mass campaign of public service privatisation has been a hallmark of his reign yet he has stepped down in the middle of the deeply flawed process leaving the lives of millions hanging in the balance,” said PSA General Secretary, Stewart Little.

“The privatisation of the Land Titles Registry has been universally condemned and will impact dramatically upon the entire ecomony yet Mr Baird prided himself on his  Government’s alleged fiscal credentials.”

“The sell off of Disability Services has already thrown countless workers and clients into free fall. What will the future now hold for them?”

“Similarly, Housing, Prisons and Community Services”.

“Mike Baird will go down in history as the “Out of Touch Premier” who thought lock out laws were more important than quality services for people with disability, land owners in NSW and child protection,” said Stewart Little.

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