'Better Services' campaign for NSW

August 22, 2009

Unions NSW unveiled its "Better Services for a Better State" campaign at a seminar for public sector union delegates and Your Rights at Work activists in Parramatta on August 20.

The seminar was attended by delegates and organisers from the Public Service Association (including a delegate from the Prison Officers Vocational branch), the NSW Teachers Federation, the NSW Nurses Association, the Electrical Trades Union and the Rail Tram and Bus Union. An organiser from the Police Association was also present.

The Better Services campaign will be launched in October or early November in the lead-up to the ALP state conference over November 13-14. Premier Nathan Rees is expected to seek changes to ALP policy making it easier for the party to privatise state assets.

Unions NSW deputy assistant secretary Adam Kerslake told delegates it would be a community campaign similar to the Your Rights at Work campaign. Unions NSW will try to formulate a "community charter" for better services, opposing privatisation and job cuts in the public sector and supporting increased services, fair wages and conditions for workers without trade-offs.

Politicians from all parties would be asked to commit to the charter. The aim, said Kerslake, was to make service one of the top five election issues at the March 2011 state election.

The campaign will also aim to increase union membership and activism, expecting a Labor loss at the election and a Coalition government launching deeper cuts against the public sector than those carried out by Labor so far.

The campaign is expected to have two aspects: a community component focused on winning support for better services and placing pressure on local state politicians, and an advertising campaign. Ads will be broadcast on television in the weeks leading up to the ALP state conference.

"This isn't about getting the Labor Party elected", Kerslake said. "That's a tactical decision we take before the election — we can't judge that now." He refused to rule out the campaign calling for a vote for Labor.

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