Disability carers across NSW on strike over privatisation plan under NDIS

ACTION: Public Service Association's Michelle Mackintosh and Linda Barclay led industrial action in Albury. Picture: JAMES WILTSHIRE

ACTION: Public Service Association's Michelle Mackintosh and Linda Barclay led industrial action in Albury. Picture: JAMES WILTSHIRE

DISABILITY workers across NSW took industrial action on Tuesday in response to the state government's plan to privatise public disability services.

Members of the Public Service Association of NSW gathered in state parliament, while their rally was broadcast the regional centres via Facebook.

PSA regional organiser Michelle Mackintosh said any move to privatise the sector would risk losing a wealth of experienced staff.

“NSW are the only state government that want to completely privatise disability care under the NDIS,” she said.

“Every other state has retained public disability services to some degree.

“If these workers are absorbed into the private sector, ultimately they will face lower wages and conditions.

“If these workers leave the sector their experience leaves with them, which is detrimental not just to the sector, but to their clients as well.”

Tim Evans, who works for the Murrumbidgee branch of Family and Community Services, said communication between the state government and carers had been sorely lacking.

“The way staff are being treated is unacceptable,” he said.

“We took this action to get the premier to change her approach to our staff, in such a way that will keep carers in the system, not lose them.

“There isn't a preparedness from the department to sit down with the union and the staff and talk to them.”

Mr Evans was also concerned the likely incursion of for-profit providers could potentially compromise the quality of care clients receive.

“The majority of clients would be cared for by not-for-profit organisations, but there is a real possibility the for-profit sector will join the industry,” he said.

“If they can't profit from a client, they won't care for them.

“It takes a great deal of skill and experience to deal with complex clients, we don't think the private sector has that ability.

“It sits well and truly within the provenance of government, who are doing a good job of looking after these clients now.”

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