Today the Australian Services Union (ASU) has called on the NSW Government to end competitive tendering and prohibit for-profit organisations from operating in the community sector.
In giving evidence at the NSW Government Inquiry into Child Protection, ASU NSW & ACT (Services) Branch Secretary Natalie Lang said today that the NSW Government’s funding model needed an a serious overhaul.
“Competitive tendering needs to go, it’s just that simple. The protection of children and young people relies upon collaboration across the sector, a practice which is the back bone of our community sector, but is completely undermined by competitive tendering,” she said.
Ms Lang also questioned the role that profit driven organisations had in delivering services to vulnerable people.
“Profit should not drive service delivery to vulnerable children and young people. The margins in community sector funding are so slim. The sector’s wages are heavily regulated by our Award and Equal Pay decision. The only way an organisation can seek to make profit is through lowering their standards in service delivery or breaching the industrial rights of its employees,” she said.
Ms Lang said the Government should recognise the importance of a professional workforce through working with the sector on professional standards and creating a portable long service leave scheme.
“We support professional standards in our sector, but they need to be properly funded and developed in consultation with the sector. This means attracting and retaining the best people. We know from our experiences in the ACT a portable long service leave scheme is a significant incentive for those people stay in our sector,” she said.