Community services not for sale!

The Turnbull Government, before the recent election, set up a Productivity Commission Inquiry into how community services can be subject to increased “competition and contestability”.

Let’s be clear – this means exploring how they can pit organisation against organisation, and include ‘for-profit’ providers competing against ‘not for profit’ NGOs for community services funding.

This could force many local community services to close with big business replacing them and making profits for their shareholders from the people you support.

Tell the Productivity Commission that we say NO to for-profit businesses making money from supporting vulnerable people.

Write your submission to the Inquiry by Friday July 22nd and we will then submit all members’ submissions directly to the Productivity Commission.

The detail – what’s at risk

Companies making profit from services to vulnerable people
Allowing ‘for-profit’ organisations to deliver services to the most vulnerable members of our community is not a good use of public money. Every dollar of Government funding should go to supporting people in need – not profits for shareholders.

Quality service is at stake
The desire to make profit will inevitably lead to erosion of the quality of services that are provided to clients in need. In a bid to win tenders big business may undercut the true cost of service provision. This means poor quality services for clients and communities, and increased workloads for staff.

Smaller not for profits most a risk
The unique role and relationships that locally based organisations have in their communities because will be undermined if they are replaced with big business that has no connection, respect or trust from people in need.

We will have less diversity of services
If a provider is driven by profit, not purpose, they will focus on services that are the “cheapest” to deliver. This means that specialist services and intensive services  - which cost more – will suffer as there could be fewer providers who can take these services on as they face tough competition from big business to win government contracts.

Uncertainty and instability for the workforce
The threat of your service being closed or losing contracts to for profit providers will mean more stress when we know workloads are already high in our sector. Burnout and workers leaving the sector is a real possibility.

This would mean loss of experience and local knowledge. Constant change also means insecure work – we are already seeing less permanent jobs in our sector and more and more short term contracts.

This will only get worse if the sector is opened to more competition. Clients will lose out if experienced and dedicated workers chose to leave the sector.

How to make a submission – do you have 15 minutes to save our sector?

Workers in community services know firsthand how these proposed changes would play out on the ground, and your stories are important.

You can make a submission by filling in the form here. The ASU will submit all submissions made by Friday 22 July 2016 to the Productivity Commission.

Your submission doesn’t have to be long. Personal stories are important. The kinds of things you might want to include in your submission are:

  • The kind of service you work in, the people you support and how long you’ve worked in the sector.
  • Why social and community services should not be open to private providers to tender for government funding.
  • Why not-for profits are better placed to deliver community services (e.g. connected to the community).
  • The uncertainty that constant tendering and competition between providers creates for you in your work and its impact on the people you support.
  • The impact of more competition in the sector on you and your colleagues (e.g. stress & burnout, less permanent jobs, impact on the people you support if workers left the sector.