On 22 March, the Premier Mike Baird announced that the roll out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme would be accelerated for children aged under 18 in the Penrith and Blue Mountains area. The Unions were not consulted prior to this sudden announcement.
The PSA immediately called an urgent teleconference meeting with members in the Penrith Regional Office on 23 March.
At this meeting PSA members and staff workshopped how to alert community members to our concerns. Specifically, members were concerned with the consequences of the privatisation of ADHC services and the lack of consultation and information about what the acceleration means for jobs and services in the region.
Given the State Government has tied the NDIS unnecessarily with the privatisation of ADHC, union members should have been consulted about the consequences and the timeframe.
In the Hunter Region, where the NDIS roll out is being trialled, PSA members have identified serious risks arising from the lack of workforce planning as well as gaps that are now emerging in the service delivery across the trial site. It is therefore alarming to the PSA that the scheme is being accelerated without any evaluation of the trial in the Hunter region.
The following resolution was passed at the Penrith meeting:
“This meeting of PSA members voices its shock and dismay at the lack of consultation and apparent planning behind Baird’s Sunday announcement that his government will roll out the NDIS early for the Nepean and Blue Mountains region.
This meeting has no confidence in the Government’s ability to effectively roll out the NDIS as its privatisation of Disability Services will lead to a workforce and service delivery crisis in our region.”
Following this, your union, the PSA has been in constant contact with the media highlighting the issues with transferring ADHC services to private providers.
On behalf of the PSA, union delegate Bronwyn Couch spoke to the Sydney Morning Herald about members’ concerns. The story, which identifies that more information is needed before the scheme is rolled out, can be seen here.
The PSA delegates, LCAG members and staff will continue to plan and progress our campaign against the privatisation of ADHC.
In the meantime a meeting with the Department has been arranged for Monday, 20 April 2015. The PSA will be represented at the meeting by Assistant General Secretary, Steve Turner, and the NBM Departmental Committee delegate.
A second PSA members meeting in the Nepean/ Blue Mountains about this issue was held on 8 April 2015. The meeting was an opportunity for members to raise the issues for discussion with the Department.
The PSA will report back to members following the meeting with Michael Coutts Trotter.
Your Nepean Blue Mountains delegates are: