Public Service Association members protest over the privatisation of disability services as part of the National Disability Insurance Scheme on March 11, 2014. Photo: Ian Kirkwood
Thousands of disability service workers will take industrial action to slow down the roll-out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme in protest at plans to privatise home care services.
The Public Service Association representing about 3500 members who work in government disability services across NSW has passed a motion to introduce work bans affecting implementation of the NDIS.
Public Service Association assistant general secretary, Steve Turner, said that, while disability workers strongly supported the NDIS, they opposed it being used to "disguise" the privatisation of services.
Mr Turner said the NDIS was introduced to improve choice, funding and quality of services available to people with disability.
The delegates passed a motion saying: "We support the principles of this important reform, and improved funding and services for all people with a disability.
"However, there is no direct connection between the NDIS and the NSW government's ideological decision to privatise all publicly delivered disability and home care services in our state."
The delegates said the government's decision had caused distress to families who rely on publicly run disability and home care services.
"There is also real distress among workers whose employment security, workplace rights and conditions of employment are being sacrificed in the race to privatise," the delegates said.
Mr Turner said promises that the NDIS would create 25,000 extra jobs had yet to materialise.
The Minister for Disability Services, John Ajaka, said the only people who would be affected by any disability service work bans and any slowing down of the NDIS rollout were people with disability.
"I call upon the unions not to use people with a disability as weapons in a political battle over staff conditions," he said.
"NSW is not the only state withdrawing from providing disability services. For example, Queensland has committed to moving their direct services into the non-government arena."
Mr Ajaka said the original agreement between former prime minister Julia Gillard and Premier Barry O'Farrell said the NSW government would not provide any specialist disability services or basic community care services following the implementation of the full NDIS.
"The NSW government will continue its discussions about industrial arrangements as the NDIS is rolled out, and I will ensure that staff are at the forefront of conversations about this vital reform, alongside people with disabilities and their families," Mr Ajaka said.