Unions wary of NDIS impact on staff’s conditions and clients’ futures

PRIVATISATION FEARS: Central West Community Union Alliance spokesman Joe Maric is fearful for the future of staff and clients when the state-funded Aging Disability and Home Care (ADHC) service is axed as part of a NSW government deal for the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Photo: PHIL BLATCH 0117pbjoe1

PRIVATISATION FEARS: Central West Community Union Alliance spokesman Joe Maric is fearful for the future of staff and clients when the state-funded Aging Disability and Home Care (ADHC) service is axed as part of a NSW government deal for the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Photo: PHIL BLATCH 0117pbjoe1

Unions are raising concerns that disability workers are facing an uncertain long-term future and more acute clients will be stranded when the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is rolled out in Orange in July.

Public Service Association NSW assistant general secretary Troy Wright and Central West Community Union Alliance spokesman Joe Maric are worried about what will happen when the state-funded Aging Disability and Home Care (ADHC) service is cut and its services go to tender.

Mr Maric said in Orange, ADHC often looks after people with acute and challenging disabilities, as well as providing respite.

He said there is a concern about cost changes when it is cut, as well as fears some clients may end up in institutions.

Mr Wright said closing ADHC is the result of an agreement made with the NSW government that it would not have to fund disability services under the NDIS.

He said ADHC has 11 homes for people with a disability in Orange and each employs five to seven people, who will be automatically transferred to an unknown employer.

On Friday the Department of Family and Community Services contacted the Central Western Daily and guaranteed “the terms and conditions of employment for staff transferred to the non-government sector will remain unchanged” for two years for full-time workers and six months for part-time staff.

There are no certainties for staff beyond those timeframes and Mr Wright said the union is concerned the tender will go to a multinational corporation that will put profits ahead of long-term client or staff welfare.

PSA members will protest in Bathurst on February 14.

“The PSA recognises the NDIS is a good thing for people with a disability but this is an opportunistic move by the state government to get out of its responsibilities,” Mr Wright said.

A Family and Community Services spokesperson said an important aspect of the transfer was retaining the skills of current NSW government staff when they transfer to NGOs to ensure the continued delivery of support for people with complex needs.

A spokesperson from the National Disability Insurance Agency, which will roll out the federal NDIS, said the agency sets price limits for most supports and services so all NDIS clients can access support.

NDIS COMMENT: P7

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