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Government’s move to privatise worries ACTU

TODAY ACTU President Ged Kearney expressed deep concern about the Federal Government’s moves to privatise social welfare.
“The government has confirmed they intend to follow a version of the failed British ‘Big Society’ concept that caused such high unemployment and dysfunctional privatisation in the UK,” Ms Kearney said.

Ms Kearney said this meant more control given to charities, which had broad implications.

“Charities do a fantastic job but they are there to fill gaps, not take on the full responsibility of supporting all those in need. They already work very hard, are under-resourced and over-burdened. It is the Government’s responsibility to protect people and provide a robust public sector, not handball their duties to charities and volunteers.”

“What they want to do is privatise vital public services on a massive scale. But without an adequate state controlled safety-net many people will fall through exacerbating inequality and ensuring that we well and truly live in a society of haves and have-nots.”
Ms Kearney said that in the UK this approached caused a massive rise in unemployment.

“In the UK unpaid labour and the charitable and voluntary sectors were intended to fill the gaps left by public services, however this was too high a burden and what they ended up with was a small number of corporations that are acting as government agents, providing health, education and social services in a for profit system.”

“They tried and failed in the UK and now the Australian Government wants to follow that same unfortunate path that caused such polarisation between rich and poor neighbourhoods and greater social divide.”

Ms Kearney said the public should be made aware the implications of such an approach.

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