Stopwork meeting for Illawarra disability workers

Illawarra disability workers will hold a one-hour stopwork protest on Friday over state government plans to privatise the disability services sector.

The Ageing Disability and Home Care (ADHC) workers will hold a rally at the intersection of Porter Street and University Avenue, North Wollongong, from 2.30pm to 3.30pm.

They are among 14,500 ADHC workers throughout the state whose jobs are in jeopardy due to the government's decision to withdraw from the sector by 2018.

Public Service Association acting general secretary Steve Turner said that this week's protest would not affect the delivery of services.

"We call these stopworks to demonstrate and support our campaign against the government's decision to privatise disability services," he said.

"However, our members are very careful that services are maintained and clients are cared for, Mr Turner said. "It's about affecting the government, not service delivery to people with a disability."

He said workers - and clients - would be severely affected by privatisation as the government implemented the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

"The NSW government currently delivers 40 per cent of disability services in the state, and it supplies most of the high-need, specialised services," he said.

"It's the only state government to sign up to the NDIS and then say it will no longer deliver disability services once the scheme is rolled out by 2018.

"The government is saying it's about creating choice but by completely removing ADHC - the largest and most experienced disability service provider - it will actually be removing choice for people with a disability."

Mr Turner said the state government had refused to guarantee ADHC workers the same pay, conditions and entitlements in the private sector. He said they faced job loss or forcible transfer to private employers.

"Some of our members have been working with clients for 30 years and they understand their clients' needs and clients are comfortable with them," he said.

"We're worried that in the private sector, experienced and professional workers like these will be replaced with people on two or three-hour casual shifts who don't understand the work, or the clients."

Mr Turner said there was concern the privatisation of ADHC would be used as a template to sell off other public services.


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