Defending Disability Services
The State Government plans to privatise Ageing Disability and Home Care (ADHC).
Fight the move and the dangerous precedent it sets for the treatment of staff in other areas that may be privatised.
Anne Gardiner delivers stirring speech at PSA ADHC Newcastle Rally
Who has signed our pledge against the privatisation of Ageing, Disability and Home Care?
John Kaye, Greens
Kate Washington, Labor candidate for Port Stephens
Milton Caine, Christian Democratic candidate for Newcastle
Clayton Barr, Labor member for Cessnock
Greg Piper, Independent member for Lake Macquarie
Debra O’Brien, Labor candidate for Northern Tablelands
Dr Mehreen Faruqi, Greens
Jamie Parker, Greens member for Balmain
Jan Barham, Greens
Sonia Hornery, Labor member for Wallsend
John Robertson, Labor member for Blacktown
Carmel Tebbutt, Labor member for Marrickville
Ryan Park, Labor member for Keira
Noreen Hay, Labor member for Wollongong
Tim Crakanthorp, Labor member for Newcastle
Jodie Harrison, Labor member for Charlestown
Jo Haylen, Labor candidate for Summer Hill
Barry Collier, Labor member for Miranda
Michael Veitch, Labor
Linda Burney, Labor member for Canterbury
Helen Westwood, Labor
Adam Searle, Labor
Lynda Voltz, Labor
Peter Primrose, Labor
Richard Amery, Labor member for Mount Druitt
Sophie Cotsis, Labor
Michael Daley, Labor member for Maroubra
Tania Mihailuk, Labor member for Bankstown
Andrew McDonald, Labor member for Macquarie Fields
Greg Donnelly, Labor
Shaoquett Moselmane, Labor
Cassandra Coleman, Labor candidate for Bathurst
James Shaw, Labor candidate for Parramatta
Cameron Murphy, Labor candidate for East Hills
Jeremy Buckingham, Greens
Paul Lynch, Labor member for Liverpool
Trish Doyle, Labor candidate for Blue Mountains
Emma Husar, Labor candidate for Penrith
Greg Warren, Labor candidate for Campbelltown
Ben Moroney, Greens candidate for Campbelltown
Philippa Clark, Greens candidate for Oatley
Nathan Hunt, Greens candidate for Cronulla
Peter Scaysbrook, Labor candidate for Cronulla
Mick Nairn, Greens candidate for Miranda
Greg Holland, Labor candidate for Miranda
Maryanne Stuart, Labor candidate for Heathcote
Arthur Rorris, Independent candidate for Wollongong
Brent Heber, Greens candidate Kogarah
Madeleina Snowdon, Greens candidate for Rockdale
O’Bray Smith, Labor candidate for Oatley
Natasha Watson, Greens candidate Heathcote
Lindsay Shurey, Greens candidate for Coogee
Paul Pearce, Labor candidate for Coogee
Anna Watson, Labor candidate for Shellharbour
Leanne Atkinson, Labor candidate for Bega
Jodi McKay, Labor candidate for Strathfield
Yasmine Catley, Labor candidate for Swansea
Stephen O’Brien, Socialist Alliance candidate for Newcastle
Susan Price, Socialist Alliance candidate for Summer Hill
Bernard Fitzsimon, Labor candidate for Orange
Paul Spooner, Labor candidate for Ballina
Guy Zangari, Labor member for Fairfield
Kathy Smith, Labor member for Gosford
PSA meets with Minister for Disability Services
On 8 December 2015, PSA Assistant General Secretary Steve Turner and Departmental Committee delegates met with the Minister for Disability Services, John Ajaka to discuss the Baird Government’s plans to privatise disability services. This meeting followed the PSA’s state-wide strike action last week which demonstrated member commitment and strength to fight for their jobs and conditions.
You can view news coverage of the strike HERE
ADHC bulletin – PSA rejects “grossly unfair and totally inadequate” transfer package for disability staff
The Baird Government’s proposed transfer package for disability staff is grossly unfair and totally inadequate.
While visiting various groups of members in the Newcastle area this week, PSA General Secretary, Anne Gardiner fired a shot or two at the Government over the privatisation of ADHC in the lead up to the industrial action in the Hunter on 4 November.
Read the Newcastle Herald article HERE.
With the Federal Government reportedly looking at slowing the roll out of the NDIS due to costs, the PSA has grave concerns that the scheme will be reduced to a poorly funded low budget exercise making the privatisation and removal of ADHC even more perilous.
Today, Acting PSA General Secretary, Steve Turner wrote to Premier Baird on behalf of thousands of currently satisfied ADHC clients, seeking an assurance that ADHC will not be dismantled, and remain a viable
choice for people with disabilities, their families and carers in NSW.
Read the letter to the Premier HERE.
High level needs clients have been quietly moved to Stockton despite its planned closure highlighting the need for a provider of last resort when the NSW Government washes its hands of disability services.
Read the Newcastle Herald story HERE
How the NDIS will expand to cover almost half a million people is yet to be properly detailed by the Commonwealth and State Ministers.
Read the Herald Sun article HERE.
Department of Family and Community Services report reveals children still at risk – The Sydney Morning Herald
“At 5 July, 2014, FaCS has not conducted 952 or 46 per cent of the required annual placement reviews for children or young people under its direct care,” – NSW Auditor General Grant Hehir.
Read the Herald article HERE.
PSA MEDIA RELEASE
The shocking abuse of disabled people in privately operated homes exposed in last night’s Four Corners program has further alarmed thousands of NSW families.
The program detailed horrific sexual assaults inflicted repeatedly upon numerous disabled clients in Victoria. Complaints were ignored, whistleblowers targeted.
Here in NSW, tens of thousands of some of our most vulnerable people are terrified at the Baird Government’s plans to privatise ageing, disability and home care services (ADHC).
The move is set to cause chaos in the disability sector, says the Public Service Association.
Relationships between clients and carers take years to build – they are like family – but union surveys show up to 60% will leave the industry once privatised.
“Thousands of workers will resign rather than be forced into the private sector,” PSA Assistant General Secretary Steve Turner said.
“ADHC provides the bulk of services and looks after the vast majority of clients with high needs. They require a lot of support and that is expensive.”
“Will a private operator provider give them the same level of service and care if it’s not profitable for them to do so? The State Government cannot guarantee that level of service will be replicated.”
Kenthurst mother Ingrid Pickering says her intellectually disabled son Michael’s violent outbursts were too much to cope with.
He was rejected by every non-government organisation because they just couldn’t handle him,” she said.
“Our house looked like Swiss cheese. He punched holes in every wall. I was being hit constantly. My husband was being hit. He head butted me and broke my nose, broke my front teeth.”
Michael, 30, now lives in a state run home where he has built strong, happy relationships with carers.
- Thousands of families are deeply distressed by NSW Government plans to privatise disability services or basic community care services from 2015.
- Ageing Disability and Homecare (ADHC) is the biggest single provider of disability services in NSW making up 40% of the sector.
- ADHC provides disability and home care services to around 90,000 clients, including the bulk of specialist, high-needs services.
- It employs 13,823 people – 10,516 permanent, 987 temporary and 2,320 casual.
- Public Service Association surveys show system will be gutted by privatisation – around 50% ADHC workers will leave the industry.
- The NSW Government and ADHC have so far failed to provide a commitment to protect services or jobs for people affected.
“Are the hard cases the ones which are going to be thrown on the scrap heap? Who will provide the safety net if not the government?”
Read the article HERE.
Elderly people receiving home care services from the NSW government are concerned they will be denied basic assistance under the transfer of the scheme to the private sector.
Read the Herald article HERE.
PSA General Secretary Anne Gardiner’s speech at the rally on 13 November against the privatisation of ADHC
I want to start by saying that the Public Service Association of NSW says YES to the NDIS but we sayNO to privatisation.
Mr Baird forcing all disability and Home Care services into the private sector is ideology gone mad.
Who asked the community if they wanted ADHC privatised?
That’s right: no one.
In fact, if it wasn’t for the unions and community groups working together, this mass privatisation would have slipped under the radar.
Today we are here to remind the Baird Government that we live in a society, in wonderful communities, not in economies, and we don’t want this taken away from us.
Government has a responsibility for delivering the public services we rely on.
This includes road maintenance, child protection, TAFE, court reporting, public housing, land and property information and regulatory functions for transport and finances.
Each of the services I have just named are currently under a privatisation threat from the Baird Government.
However, this is all being done without any evidence that privatisation improves services or makes economic sense.
The private sector is already lining up to take over the disability sector. Serco, Moran, Bupa are just some of the big names waiting in the wings to take over this public service for profit purposes and this is being done without any debate, and without any transparency.
Forced privatisation of public services has monumentally failed in the UK.
Mr Baird, why are we blindly following a failed model of privatising public services?
The British Auditor General recently said that privatising public services has resulted in corporations like Serco fraudulently taking public money.
But nobody seems surprised because everyone knows that the main obligation of corporations is to maximise profits for their shareholders.
Well, in NSW, the people are here today to say it’s not OK.
In the United Kingdom, public services and their assets were given totally to not-for-profits under a failed model of privatisation called Big Society.
In the last three years under Big Society many of these not-for-profits have been gobbled up by 4 major corporations.
This privatisation of ADHC denies people with disability the right to choose to stay with their current provider if that current provider is the NSW Government.
Everyone, irrespective of age, postcode or personal circumstance should have equal access to public services.
This is the hallmark of a developed and civilised society and this is what makes NSW a great place to live.
In NSW we have an election coming up and people need to tell our politicians that we want ADHC and other public services to stay in public hands and that we say NO to privatisation.
Thursday 13 November
Nearly 25,000 signatures against the privatisation of ADHC were presented to Parliament at the rally.
“It’s not really a saving if it means the money is not being spend on the kids who need it or it’s being spent on cheap therapy which is not effective,” – Autism Awareness Australia chief executive Nicole Rogerson
Read the Herald story HERE.
PSA protest targets NSW plans to privatise housing worth $800m for disabled – The Sydney Morning Herald
The Sydney Morning Herald has followed yesterday’s coverage of our hugely successful rally with a story about the future of more than $800 million in government-owned property with the transfer of ADHC to the private sector.
Read the Herald article HERE.
The ABC have also covered today’s rally.
Read their story HERE.
Today’s rally against the privatisation of ADHC has already been covered by The Sydney Morning Herald.
Read the Herald article HERE.
Channel 10 News on 12 November gave excellent coverage of the issues at the heart of today’s rally against the privatisation of Ageing Disability and Home Care.
View the Channel 10 news clip HERE.
Read the Herald article HERE.
Opposition Leader John Robertson today signed the PSA’s pledge to stop the privatisation of Ageing, Disability and Home care Services.
John is pictured with ADHC PSA member, Val Lehmann-Monck (left) and PSA General Secretary, Anne Gardiner (right).
Chronic under-staffing puts vulnerable children at risk.
Thank you to the Illawarra Mercury for highlighting the concerns of Family and Community Services staff in the Illawarra.
Read the Illawarra Mercury article HERE.
The Government’s attempt to prevent FACS staff from attending the 13 November rally outside Parliament House against the privatisation of Ageing, Disability and Home Care (ADHC) has been stopped in its tracks.
On 31 October, FACS Head Office issued a directive to managers that no further leave or extended breaks were to be granted for the rally, effectively blocking staff from attending.
The PSA quickly lodged a dispute in the Industrial Relations Commission which was heard by the Acting President of the IRC Justice Boland on 5 November.
Justice Boland felt that the approach of the Department was heavy handed.
As a result, FACS have confirmed it will remove the blanket ban and advise that normal leave practices will apply for 13 November.
Staff at the Coniston office of the Department of Community Services walked off the job for one hour at 12 noon today in protest at a critical lack of staffing which is leaving vulnerable children in the Illawarra at risk said the Public Service Association (PSA).
Shattered staff at the Coniston office took similar action in 2013 following a tragic and avoidable incident in Wollongong.
The office had lost an entire team, equivalent to six full-time caseworkers.
Their action began a domino effect with Community Services offices across the state walking off the job to highlight their own concerns about staffing levels.
The situation has since declined further with up to 10 child protection positions lost at Coniston in the past two years.
“For all the talk from the Government, the fact is the staffing situation has not improved,” said PSA Assistant General Secretary, Steve Turner.
“The plight of these at-risk children weigh heavily on the minds of these workers but they are so overwhelmed by the number of children who require their attention it is simply not possible to visit every child.”
“That’s an enormous burden to carry with you and absolutely soul destroying for these people, many of whom who have young families of their own.”
“There are simply insufficient staffing resources to safeguard the number of at-risk children that come to their attention.”
“The plight of the most vulnerable and helpless in our society needs to be properly addressed once and for all with the proper resourcing of expert Government services.”
“Our members have had enough. They don’t take the decision to walk off the job lightly. But they are extremely concerned that another tragedy is just around the corner.”
Opinion by Kate Washington, Labor candidate for Port Stephens
“Under a NDIS, the state government cannot wash its hands of its responsibilities. It should continue to play its role as provider of last resort and continue to ensure that quality services and proper accountability are at the heart of disability service provision.”
Read the Newcastle Herald story HERE
Community Services Minister Gabrielle Upton has announced the signing of contracts that will save a number of services for homeless women in Sydney.
Read the article HERE.
The Gosford Local Community Action Group (LCAG) rallied at at Kibble Park, Gosford 29 October to protest against State Government plans to privatise Ageing Disability and Home Care (ADHC).
On 23 October, a group of seven ADHC employees who are PSA members from the Sydney Local Campaign Action Group, came to the Unions NSW to address the weekly meeting about the rally on 13 November.
Sian Page (pictured below) gave a rousing speech that questioned the privatisation of ADHC.
You can read her speech HERE
Follow this link to download the Defending Disability Services Campaign kit.
PSA Q&A forum in Newcastle December 2013
Hundreds of workers in the Hunter region will be affected by the State Government’s privatisation of Home Care.
Read the article HERE.
The Public Service Association congratulates union members for securing more than 17,500 signatures on the petition against the privatisation of Ageing, Disability and Home Care (ADHC) in NSW.
Click HERE to download the petition.
In September, your PSA Departmental Committee delegates resolved to hold a rally to present the petition to Parliament on:
Date: Thursday November 13
Location: Parliament House, Macquarie Street, Sydney
Campaign so far…a year of action
Keep them coming.
A rally will be held in November to present the petitions that have been collected against the privatisation of disability and home care services to Parliament.
The rally will be outside Parliament House in Sydney on Thursday, 13 November between 12 pm and 1pm.
All members are encouraged to attend.
Please apply for flex or other leave in order to attend the rally.
The Central Coast Community Union Alliance held a Q & A forum on 24 September called Leaders Listen.
Guest included the Green’s John Kaye and Opposition Leader John Robertson.
Click HERE for photos from the event
The Minister for Ageing and Disability Services, John Ajaka, has announced that the Home Care Service of NSW is transitioning to the non-government sector as part of the NDIS, expanding the scope of the largest ever sell-off of government services in this state, said the Public Service Association (PSA).
Home Care provides vital services to the community such as personal care, domestic assistance, respite (support for carers) and social support (for Aboriginal Home Care) to younger clients with a disability as well as aged clients.
Read the article HERE.
The Hunter Disability Support Group fear a looming disaster for people with intellectual disabilities in Government’s plans to abandon the sector.
Read the full article HERE.
PSA makes its presence felt at Wollongong rally to defend Disability and Home Care services.
Read the full article HERE.
BY IAN KIRKWOOD
GRAHAM Burgess is a determined man.
As the Newcastle Herald recently reported, he walked across the Nullarbor Plain at the start of this year, pulling a 180-kilogram cart behind him.
More than 100 people rallied in Wollongong today as part of the fight to save disability and home care services
The Illawarra Mercury quickly got behind the action that is taking place in Wollongong on Friday.
Read the story HERE.
The concerns underlying today’s rally in Newcastle were highlighted in the Newcastle Herald.
Read the full story HERE.
Disability care workers in the Newcastle and Hunter Region are stopping work today between 12 and 1pm to protest against State Government plans to privatise Ageing Disability and Home Care (ADHC), said the Public Service Association of NSW (PSA).
The implementation of the NDIS will be far more effective if the Government retains a key role in delivering this vital human service.
To make matters worse, the Government so far has failed to make a commitment to protect the job security, conditions, entitlements and pay of the public servants who are to be transferred, like it or not, to a private employer.
This is undoubtedly just the beginning of a mass sell off of public services in NSW.
Please sign the petition HERE and ask your family, work colleagues and friends to sign also.
So please print a copy, collect as many signatures as you can, and post the petition back to:
The Public Service Association of NSW GPO Box 3365 Sydney NSW 2001
Do it for Ben
– find him a home & stop the disability services sell off
The mother of a disabled child expresses her fears over the closure of the Dapto Respite Centre.
Read the whole article in the Illawarra Mercury HERE.
Disability workers have have vowed to fight privatisation of government-owned disability services like group homes and respite services.
PSA Members vote to take action in the Hunter, and the Departmental Committee vote to extend it across the State.
On Monday 17 March, the first meeting of the new ADHC Departmental Committee took place at PSA House. The main area of discussion was the Government’s plans to privatise all of ADHC commencing with its operations in the Hunter area.
The Government is using the NDIS to pursue its ideological agenda to privatise ADHC. The Government’s attack on ADHC and its staff was further highlighted when its NDIS Enabling Act, passed last year, left redundancy pay, recognition of service, superannuation and other important workplace rights and conditions unprotected.
Since then, the PSA has worked hard to negotiate a so called “framework agreement” with FACS and Treasury officials that would protect members’ rights and conditions. However, despite great cooperation and advocacy on the side of the Unions, the department has not agreed to any protections so far.
This issue is most dire in the Hunter Area, where the transition to NDIS is now underway.
That is why on March 11, ADHC PSA members from across the Hunter region working in group homes, respite centres, community support teams, as well as managers and other PSA members from Stockton held a general meeting and unanimously endorsed the following motion:
“We vehemently oppose the (State) Goverment’s initiative to fully privatise ADHC and consequently we have lost faith in the Minister (Ajaka).”
This motion was carried without any opposition.
A second motion was put to the same meeting calling for members to place bans on work related to the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) tasks and for the bans to remain in place until the entitlements and conditions of all ADHC staff are protected.
The PSA Delegates from the Hunter Region subsequently raised these bans at the PSA state wide Departmental Committee (DC) meeting of 17 March, where the bans were discussed and endorsed by the state wide DC. As a result, the bans have now been authorised by the PSA General Secretary Anne Gardiner.
PSA Members working for ADHC in the Hunter Region are therefore directed to ban work which requires their cooperation with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), which is the Agency responsible for overseeing the rollout of NDIS.
Specifically, the bans are as follows:
- No direct contact/communication with or from the NDIA staff.
- Stop the provision of NDIA related information to ADHC management or the NDIA.
- Not attending ADHC NDIA/NDIS internal meetings.
- Not attending planning meetings.
- Not forwarding on NDIA correspondence.
Extending the Industrial Bans across NSW
As a consequence of this action taken by Hunter members, the full DC voted unanimously to extend the industrial action in the form of work bans across NSW. The resolution passed explains the delegates’ position on the NDIS, which the PSA supports, and the plans to privatise. The resolution unanimously passed is as follows:
“This meeting of state wide Disability Services Delegates vehemently opposes the privatisation of Ageing, Disabilities and Home Care (ADHC) Services and as a result have lost confidence in the Minister, John Ajaka.
We condemn the NSW Government for using the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) to disguise its privatisation agenda.
The NDIS was introduced to improve choice, funding and quality of services available to people with disability.
We support the principles of this important reform, and improved funding and services for all people with a disability.
However, there is no direct connection between the NDIS and the NSW Government’s ideological decision to privatise all publicly delivered disability and home care services in our state which the Government is driving via the NDIS Enabling Act.
This meeting recognises the real distress the Government’s decision has caused families who rely on publicly run disability and home care services.
There is also real distress amongst workers whose employment security, workplace rights and conditions of employment are being sacrificed in the race to privatise.
This meeting of state wide delegates endorses an industrial ban to be placed on the work related to the privatisation of ADHC to be implemented immediately and to run until the NSW Government abandons the privatisation of disability services.”
PSA staff and delegates are now working on rolling out the industrial action across the state. Meetings of members across NSW are being planned now to discuss the impact of the privatisation of ADHC on your employment and your conditions. Members attending the meeting will vote on bans for their region.
COVERAGE IN THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD
Click here to read the recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald about the action being taken by members.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE
The NSW Government is not the only one hiding its privatisation plans behind the NDIS, but it is the only government who is planning 100% privatisation. In Western Australia, where the Colin Barnett Government is planning to privatise 60% of the services, families and carers of people with disabilities and union members are taking action to fight the plan. To learn more, click here….
A meeting of disability workers in Newcastle has expressed lack of confidence in Minister John Ajaka and voted to impose work bans in relation to the implementation of the NDIS.
Read the Newcastle Herald article on the issue HERE
By Ian Kirkwood
THE state government does not intend to offer redundancy payments to disability sector workers who decline to move to the private sector under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
Last year the NSW Government passed legislation (NDIS NSW Enabling Act) which states at s14(3) that “A transfer of employment under this section does not require the consent of the person transferred”.
This was probably done to deny redundancy pay to staff working at ADHC who do not want to be transferred to a job with inferior conditions and/or pay in the private sector.
The legislation also fails to protect conditions and accrued entitlements (eg redundancy) for transferred staff.
SO, WHAT’S THE PSA DOING ABOUT IT?
Newcastle PSA Community Forum unites union and people with disability in support of a real NDIS
On 4 December, Panthers at Newcastle was packed with PSA members, other unionists, people with disabilities, their families and community leaders to discuss the operation of the Hunter trial of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
Dec 9, 2013
More than 300 people packed into Panthers at Newcastle on 4 December for the PSA’s NDIS Community forum.
In addition, more than 120 people participated on our on-line “Have your Say” which allowed members to ask and vote on the top 3 questions to be put to the panel on the day.
A community forum in Newcastle today has heard how the State government is using the introduction of the NDIS as an excuse to privatise disability services at a cost to choice, standards, jobs and conditions.
The State government has confirmed plans to outsource all public disability services to non-government providers by 2018.
Public Service Association of NSW Assistant Secretary, Steve Turner, said the privatisation of all disability services in NSW would destroy choice and services for people with a disability, their family and carers.
Nov 28, 2013
The PSA is holding a second forum in Newcastle on 4 December at Panthers from 1pm to 3pm regarding the O’Farrell Government using the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) as a Trojan horse to cut the choice and quality of services available to support people with a disability in NSW.
If you would like to submit a question to the panel or vote on the questions of others please go to
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NSW Enabling) Bill 2013 has passed State Parliament and clears the path for the privatisation of disability services in NSW.
The legislation was put to Parliament without any negotiation with the unions.
The State Government is using the implementation of the NDIS scheme to cover the fact it is privatising disability services.
Premier Barry O’Farrell is using the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) as a Trojan horse to cut the choice and quality of services available to support people with a disability and their families in NSW.
In response, the PSA is holding a second forum in Newcastle on 4 December at Panthers.
Rob Burns remembers the day a professor told him to take his intellectually disabled son to an institution and leave him there.
This is some 11 months after the NSW Government signed a formal agreement with the Commonwealth to privatise Disability Services in NSW by 2018, and only after legislation was tabled in the NSW Parliament to facilitate this change.
It is misleading to suggest that FACS and the NSW Government want to establish a “good process to capture and deal with all industrial issues associated with the move to NDIS”.
By Henry and Wendy Ponsen
I DIRECT this letter to the federal treasurer Joe Hockey.
Do you understand the pain and grief of giving birth to a child with a disability?
The O’Farrell government will withdraw completely from disability services by 2018, leaving people with a disability in NSW at risk, according to the NSW Public Service Association.
By Anna Patty
The NSW government plans to transfer all its disability services to the private sector from next year in preparation for the introduction of the national scheme, DisabilityCare, in 2018.
Public service workers are concerned the transfer will mean a cut in their pay and conditions. The transfer is expected to include the redevelopment of group homes such as Stockton in Newcastle.
by Ian Kirkwood
THE black cloud hanging over the future of the Stockton Centre gave an added poignancy to Saturday’s annual Stockton welfare association fete.
GOVERNMENT BILL TO RAM THROUGH PRIVATISATION OF SERVICES.
The NSW government has this week introduced into Parliament the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NSW Enabling) Bill that cuts critical public disability support services.
No attempt was made to consult with unions prior to its introduction.