In a huge victory for the PSA, on Friday 16 December, the Baird Government announced it would not be privatising Sport and Recreation Centres and they would remain in public hands.
The announcement was timed to sneak under the media radar and I actually had to read it twice.
Afterall, it’s not often that a conservative Government publicly backs away from its core driving agenda.
You can read the Government’s own media release in full HERE.
The PSA played a major role in the campaign to keep the centres public with a petition that was very strongly supported by the community, as well as highlighting the issue in the media and tackling the matter on a political level.
I would like to thank all the PSA staff and members who worked so hard to secure this result and also the Teacher’s Federation and the P&C Federation for their support.
This is further proof of the “Orange Peel effect” after the result of the Orange by-election which demonstrated that unions and the community working as one can make a real difference.
The Government is now clearly on notice that the playing field has altered and are responding in a more considered politically aware manner.
The Sport and Recreation Centre decision is not just a victory for the tens of thousands of families and students who have used the camps and the outstanding staff who operate the centres, but an important act of preservation.
Historically and culturally, the camps have played a vital part in education programs for students across the state for as long as I can remember.
Children all over NSW benefit from their programs which assist the development of life-skills and the obtaining of learning experiences that they may not otherwise be able to acquire and access.
I applaud the Government’s decision and hope that this change of heart will be the beginning of the end of its privatise-everything-at-all-costs agenda.
We have finished 2016 with a huge victory but what’s critical is that we take that spirit into the New Year and maintain the pressure on behalf of sectors such as Disability Services, Prisons (particularly John Morony) and the other areas the Baird Government is moving to sell off.
Please have a happy and safe Christmas with your family and join us afresh and ready to fight in 2017.