"Disability — not for sale!" was one of the slogans shouted by Health and Community Services Union (HACSU) members as they marched on Parliament House on May 10 to protest against the Victorian Labor government's plan to privatise state-run disability services.
HACSU state secretary Lloyd Williams told the rally that Premier Daniel Andrews had broken a promise not to privatise public disability services in Victoria.
Williams said privatisation is about cutting costs by cutting workers' pay and conditions. Workers will be driven from their current enterprise agreements onto award wages, which will mean a pay cut of $80 a week for many workers and $200 a week for supervisors. This will cause many workers to leave their job. Increased casualisation will mean declining service quality.
Williams said Andrews is using the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) as a "smokescreen" for privatisation. In reality, the NDIS does not prevent a state government from being a service provider. However, there is a need to campaign for the NDIS to be properly funded.
Karina, a disability support worker, and Barry, the father of a child with disabilities, spoke to the rally, giving examples of unqualified casual staff giving inadequate care.
Greens MP Colleen Hartland expressed her party's opposition to privatisation.