Tuesday 25 June 2024

Contact 1800 772 679

Contact 1800 772 679

The magazine of the Public Service Association of NSW and the Community and Public Sector Union (NSW Branch)

Same tired plays, same tired opposition

Same tired plays, same tired opposition

Political parties have learned nothing if they still reckon maintaining an outsourcing contract trumps better-paying local jobs.

Based on ratings, like many Australians, I have an increasing fascination with the NFL.

Part of this interest is because I understand about 10 per cent of what is happening and the rest remains a mercurial mystery, including positions, scoring, tactics and how a game with only 60 minutes playing time can take upwards of three hours.

But one thing I do understand is that the coach is responsible for developing an extensive array of offensive plays designed to surprise and befuddle defences.

A coach who keeps running the same predictable play again and again would not last long in their role – their team would be boring to watch, easily neutralised and ultimately failures on the field.

Which brings us to the NSW Liberal-National Coalition.

For 12 years they were in power in this state with a policy platform that included suppressing Public Sector wages, selling off anything that wasn’t tied down and accepting bottles of Grange from rich mates.

Since it was elected in March the Minns Labor Government has reversed some of these policies. A recent example is the announcement that the privately operated Junee Correctional Centre would come into public sector control from March 2025.

This is a significant win for both the workers at the gaol, whose remuneration and safety will significantly improve, and our Corrective Services NSW members who have increased transfer options and one fewer centre undercutting their industrial conditions.

Now having been unceremoniously bundled out of office only eight months prior, one would expect the Coalition would have pulled out their playbook and reviewed it before making comment on Junee.

But instead, like an unimaginative NFL coach, we got the same tired lines from the same tired MPs.

Enter Member for Cootamundra, Steph Cooke MP (pictured during her time as Emergency Services Minister) who in gushing terms usually reserved for the outgoing chair of the local Lions Club, described the private sector operator GEO as “an important part of the Junee community” and “a part of various fundraising including supporting our farmers during droughts”.

GEO is not a key member of the Junee community. It is a global corporation based in Florida, running gaols, mental-health facilities and immigration centres around the world: often very badly.

No amount of charity donations in the local community can hide the fact that this is a global organisation actually sucking income from the Junee community, and the rest of NSW, and instead enriching shareholders abroad.

As a former NSW Florist of the Year Ms Cooke is by all accounts an accomplished small business owner who should be well aware of the positive impact several thousand dollars added to local incomes will make, particularly to those firms reliant on discretionary spending. To speak her language, it could be the difference between an Officer buying their spouse flowers on the way home or simply driving past the florist.

Then rolls out the unrecognisable Leader of the Opposition Mark Speakman who In an interview with Sydney ABC Radio claimed his party “don’t have an ideological position” on prison privatisation but were “disappointed by the process” in deciding to bring Junee CC out of the cold, claiming that it should have gone to tender first.

Gotcha. That must be why the previous Government he was part of handed Serco a 20-year $1.6 billion contract to build and operate Clarence Correctional Centre – with no public sector bid permitted.

Then he claimed that decisions regarding prison privatisation should be based on what is “best value for the taxpayers and the best health and rehabilitation outcomes for prisoners”.

Leaving aside that private prison operators fail on both these indicators, note who is missing from his considerations? The workers.

Just like an NFL coach with no new ideas, the Libs and Nats are going back to the same tired playbook in their policy. Lets keep them out of the competition until they revise their approach.

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