An Illawarra union representative is concerned the region’s disability nurses could face cuts to their pay and conditions once the state’s disability services are privatised.
The NSW government plans to transfer all its disability services to the private sector from next year in preparation for the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in 2018.
However NSW Nurses and Midwives Association regional organiser Mark Murphy said the NDIS Enabling Bill 2013 was rushed through the NSW Parliament this week without the proper consultation with unions and other stakeholders.
He said NSWNMA, Public Service Association and other union members would meet on Thursday to discuss the policy and its impact on staff as well as residents.
‘‘The NDIS does not require privatisation of the state’s disability services – these need to be run by the government,’’ Mr Murphy said.
‘‘They’re talking about better equity and better services by privatising the sector, but we know from other areas in health and other industries that privatisation doesn’t necessarily ensure better access and better services.’’
Mr Murphy said the union feared the privatisation attempt was like any other – an attempt to get services on the cheap with no long-term guarantees about choice, quality and access for residents and their families.
He said the union also had doubts about some of the assurances being given by the state government to its 14,000 disability services employees.
‘‘Nurses in this region and throughout the state face uncertainty over their future – there’s no guarantees about their entitlements or conditions, there’s no job security,’’ Mr Murphy said.
‘‘Already it appears staff will be able to be transferred without their consent under a privatised system, which shows no consideration for them as individuals.’’
Minister for Ageing and Disability Services John Ajaka, who introduced the bill and is also the Minister for the Illawarra, said more than 60 percent of disability services were already provided by non-government organisations.
Mr Ajaka said the bill would allow the Ageing, Disability and Home Care agency to work with staff and people with a disability, their families and carers to implement a transition model over the next five years.
He said skilled people would be encouraged to stay in disability services by protecting continuity of employment, pay and industrial conditions if they transferred to non-government organisations.
Mr Ajaka said the NDIS more than doubled the funding for disability services in NSW to over $6billion per annum from 2018.
‘‘By 2018, the number of people receiving support will grow to 140,000, up from 90,000 now and will create up to 25,000 new jobs in the disability sector.’’