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.
The State Government expects Home Care to be completely sold off by mid-next year which will also threaten current service levels in regional areas.
The move comes on the back of the Government’s push to outsource all state disability services to the non-government sector.
The PSA strongly supports the principles behind the National Disability Insurance Scheme but the union believes that the NDIS will be far more effective if the Government retains a key role in delivering home care and disability services.
Rather than complementing the scheme with the expert services already provided by Ageing, Disability and Home Care (ADHC), the NSW Government is embarking on a cost-cutting exercise cynically sold to the most disadvantaged in our society as increasing their choice of care.
The fact is the privatisation of Home Care, like the sell-off of Disability Services, will reduce choice and quality services for clients.
“The Government’s rhetoric focuses on increasing choice of care, but the hard reality is that choice and quality services will be dramatically cut by completely removing ADHC – the largest and most experienced disability service provider – from the picture,” said Acting PSA Assistant General Secretary Maria Cirillo.
“How can removing 40% of services possibly lead to increased choice?”
“The current Government services, which provide some of the most high-level, expensive care, will simply not continue in the private sector. Instead, provision of care will be based on cost and business models rather than the specialised needs of clients.”
“To make matters worse, as has been the case with disability services, the Government has not made any commitment to protect the job security, conditions, entitlements and pay of the public servants who may be transferred, like it or not, to the private sector.”
“We warned that the sell-off of disability services was just the beginning. Now we see home care being targeted. The fact is, the Government has created a template that it will use to sell off many other public services,” said Maria Cirillo.