Illawarra disability workers to fight privatisation plans

Illawarra disability workers hold a stopwork meeting and protest on Foleys Road, Gwynneville, in August. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI

Illawarra disability workers hold a stopwork meeting and protest on Foleys Road, Gwynneville, in August. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI

Illawarra disability workers will again take to the streets on Friday to protest state government plans to privatise the sector.

About 100 Ageing Disability and Home Care (ADHC) workers are expected to attend a lunchtime rally at Mood Park, Albion Park.

Public Service Association regional organiser Tony Heathwood said the action would not impact upon the delivery of services, but would send a clear message to the NSW government.

The action follows recent rallies in North Wollongong and Dapto.

"Disability care workers in the Illawarra are protesting the impact that the privatisation of disability services will have on the services they provide and their jobs," Mr Heathwood said.

"We believe that the government is implementing the National Disability Insurance Scheme in a manner that is ineffective and inappropriate by privatising all government-delivered services.

"They're selling their plan by saying it will increase choice, but they are reducing that choice by removing the government as a provider of last resort."

Mr Heathwood said ADHC was the most experienced service provider in the sector, particularly in high level care for people with severe disabilities.

"The hundreds of disability workers in this region are concerned that their jobs and conditions will be adversely affected and that their employment will be forcibly transferred to the non-government sector," he said.

Mr Heathwood said many parents with children with disabilities were concerned about the move, especially when some children had been with the same carers and services for decades.

A spokesperson for NSW Minister for Disability Services John Ajaka said employees who were transferred would have their key entitlements protected. This included continuity of superannuation, continuity of service, accrued long service, annual and sick leave.

"By 2018, it is estimated about 25,000 more disability staff will be needed to support the NDIS program statewide."

The spokesperson said the minister intends to continue to work closely with the unions to discuss any of their concerns.

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