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Issue #1767      March 1, 2017

Stop the sell-off

The Australian Council of Trade Unions has made a submission to the long-running Productivity Commission Inquiry into Human Services, strongly arguing against moves to privatise any services in the sector – such as social housing, public hospitals, specialist palliative care and public dental services.

Australian unions reiterate the view that privatisation has never delivered the positive results its proponents promise it will, in fact quite the opposite is true. Privatisation of key public services has delivered higher costs, fewer services, poorer quality services and less jobs.

In addition the submission argues that:

  • In social housing, the solutions advanced by the Commission would result in rent increases for social housing and in the private rental market, leaving those most needing assistance unable to access housing;
  • For public hospitals, the Commission’s recommendations are nothing more than an attempt to undermine pay and conditions in the sector; and
  • The structure of the inquiry itself is flawed, with a small number of specific recommendations for reform contained in the issues paper. By only detailing specific proposals in the last phase of the year-long inquiry, only months before the Commission reports to government, the Commission is attempting to limit meaningful stakeholder feedback on sweeping reforms to vital sectors.

“Australians won’t stand by while the Liberal Government privatises vital public services,” said ACTU president Ged Kearney. “We expect the government to improve the services it provides us with, not strip their assets, starve them of resources and ultimately sell them off to in the name of so-called ‘efficiencies’.

“There is simply no evidence that privatisation of government services will deliver any benefit to the Australian people.

“In fact, recent experiences in the vocational training sector show that it’s much more likely for costs to skyrocket and rogue operators to proliferate.”

Next article – Trump’s Watergate

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