Ajaka backs axing of government disability service

John Ajaka
John Ajaka

NSW Minister for Disability Services and the Illawarra John Ajaka has defended his government's decision to bow out of the provision of disability services.

As part of the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), the state government will transfer its disability services to the non-government sector by 2018.

Illawarra disability workers walked off the job for one hour on Friday afternoon in protest over the plans to privatise the sector.

However, Mr Ajaka said in a statement that the move was designed to "provide more choice and control to people with disabilities".

"The non-government sector already provides over 60 per cent of services currently in NSW and does a terrific job," he said.

"After 2018, service choice for clients will only increase as the demand for innovative and flexible supports and services grows."

Mr Ajaka said government staff - who work for the Department of Ageing, Disability and Home Care - had been briefed on employment changes.

"We have been working together with employees and their unions to help employees that will be transferring to NGOs have their key entitlements protected, including continuity of superannuation, continuity of service, protection of accrued long service, extended, annual and sick leave," he said.

Close to 100 Illawarra ADHC workers, parents and union representatives attended Friday afternoon's rally in North Wollongong.

Public Service Association acting general secretary Steve Turner said the union supported the principles of the NDIS, but believed the scheme would be more effective if the government maintained its services.

"The government's rhetoric focuses on increasing choice of care, but the hard reality is that choice and quality services will be dramatically cut by completely removing ADHC - the largest and most experienced disability service provider - from the picture," Mr Turner said.

The union hopes to get 20,000 signatures on a petition, which will be handed to Parliament in October.


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