Friday 23 February 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)

The type of work only government can do

The type of work only government can do

Child Protection is too important to outsource.

Few would envy the work done by our members in Child Protection.

They see children in severe need, parents unable to cope and living environments unsuited to harmonious family life.

They see evidence of violence, hear stories of sexual abuse and talk to children who are losing hope.

They work extraordinary hours, as children in need don’t fit into a 9-5 schedule.

Like so many of the services our members offer, Child Protection must be provided by the state. There is no way a private organisation can be entrusted with the lives of children.

Out Of Home Care (OOHC) has been outsourced to non-government organisations (NGOs) by successive Labor and Coalition governments over the past 20 years without successful outcomes or budgetary savings.

NGOs have failed to take up the sheer amount of work required to adequately care for young children in need. Instead, we see children spending months in serviced apartments and motels, cared for by often-untrained staff.

No-one wins here: not the children and not the taxpayer who is now forking out astronomical sums to maintain this wholly unsatisfactory arrangement.

Your union was proud to continue its long-running campaign on members’ behalf when visited in November 2023 by the Minister, Kate Washington. Your union has been lobbying both parties on this issue for many years.

Our members in Community Services experience with outsourcing is similar to other failures. From dangerous private gaols to a road system that is expected to rake in more than $123 billion from NSW drivers in the next 40 years, it is increasingly obvious there are certain functions that must be left to the state.

Often, like in Child Protection, this work is unsettling. In the case of Corrections, it can be dangerous. But our members are there, making the state a better place to live.

In this issue, we look at TestSafe, a group of members performing work only the state can do. They provide independent testing of equipment used in industries such as mining. Without their dedicated, impartial work, people would die horrible deaths in our mining industry.

In March 2023, we saw the election of a NSW Government that promised to end the farcical outsourcing of functions of the state. And, as we saw with recent announcements about prisons, things are running on track. But with a likely economic downturn ahead, the Treasurer may start getting recommendations from advisers to resume sell-offs for a short-term money hit. Regardless, your union will fight to ensure the Treasurer says no to further privatisations.

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