Big business to profit from community services

The Turnbull Government has asked the Productivity Commission to investigate commercialising vital community services – a move that would divert scarce public funding away from supporting victims of domestic violence and homelessness services to shareholders of opportunistic businesses.

In the days before the election was called, Treasurer Scott Morrison quietly directed the Productivity Commission to look into increasing ‘competition’ in the community services sector, and how to encourage for-profit providers to bid for Government funding of domestic violence and homelessness services.

Australian Services Union Assistant National Secretary Linda White said the development is a disturbing insight into the Turnbull Government’s approach to addressing major social problems, like Australia’s domestic violence crisis and youth homelessness.

“Revelations that the Turnbull Government is planning to allow businesses to make a profit from supporting victims of domestic violence are horrifying,” Ms White said.

Ms White said the Prime Minister needs to come clean on his plans for our community services.

“Before we vote on Saturday we deserve to know whether the Prime Minister supports these plans to open vital community services to for-profit businesses; whether he will allow big business to make a profit from supporting victims of domestic violence.

“If delivering a profit becomes a key factor in determining community service funding in the domestic violence space, sickeningly, increasing instances of domestic violence is beneficial to this business model.

“Does the Prime Minister really think it is appropriate that businesses make a profit from vulnerable Australians, like those at risk of homelessness and victims of domestic violence?

“Our community services are there to provide vital support to Australians in need. Every dollar of Government funding should go to supporting people in need – not profits for shareholders. How is this a good use of public money?”

You can read the full terms of reference for the Productivity Commission inquiry here: www.pc.gov.au/inquiries/current/human-services/terms-of-reference

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