Oct 25, 2013

NSW Govt uses NDIS roll out as trojan horse for privatisation of disability services

Family and Community Services NDIS Bulletin 3 (PDF)

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.

The Bill, if passed, may allow for the compulsory forced transfer of ADHC staff to private sector employers without compensation.

PSA General Secretary, Anne Gardiner said:

“On its face, this is an absolutely disgraceful attack on public sector workers.

We and the other unions involved will fight this legislation, for every single public sector job.

The NSW Government’s decision to abandon disability services will only increase pressure on the sector.

As the NDIS takes shape, NSW will need a strong public sector presence in disability services.”

The O’Farrell Government is set to abandon disability services by 2018 as part of a deal with the Commonwealth to secure NSW support for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

While the precise detail remains unclear, the PSA estimates the proposal will impact on at least 12,000 public sector staff as services provided by Ageing, Disability and Home Care (ADHC) transition to Commonwealth, non-government and private providers.

The plan was revealed by the Director General of the Department of Family and Community Services (FACS), Mr Michael Coutts-Trotter, in a late night email to staff:

“In the past few weeks I’ve talked to Ageing, Disability and Home Care (ADHC) staff.. Impressively, people were concerned first for their clients, and how they’ll transition into the new world where by 2018 only non-government agencies, and possibly the Commonwealth, will provide services – and not our department.

ADHC is currently the primary provider of core disability services in NSW, through an extensive network of group homes, large residences and home care services. The Government’s proposal will have massive implications for the tens of thousands of people with disabilities who use ADHC’s services.

The launch of the NDIS in the Hunter Valley is the beginning of the transfer of disability services from the public sector.

However, the PSA fails to see the connection between increased funding for the disability sector and the NSW Government’s decision to cease the public delivery of these services in our state.

All the available evidence suggests that the disability sector in NSW will need to grow significantly to cater for an increase in demand for services over the next few years.

ADHC and its highly professional staff are well positioned to meet those future challenges. The PSA is working with ADHC delegates to protect members’ rights.

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