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:
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