Protesters fighting privatisation of disability services greeted Premier Daniel Andrews at Torquay on Thursday.
Disability workers gathered outside Peppers the Sands Resort as State Government MPs met inside to discuss planning issues.
Health and Community Services Union’s Lloyd Williams said the state privatisation would affect more than 5000 staff and 3000 disabled Victorians while breaking a promise Mr Andrews made before the 2014 election.
“We’re all still shocked by this policy backflip,” Mr Williams said.
“Before the election Daniel Andrews promised at numerous public events not to contract out public disability services.
“Twelve months later they’ve now set out a process to work through how they can contract out.”
Mr Williams said the government was using the implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) as a cloak to cut costs, undermining the availability, stability and quality of the sector’s workforce.
“The government’s aim is to transfer all public disability services and workers across to the for-profit and non-government sector where wages and other employment terms are up to 30 per cent less.
“This will result in highly qualified and experienced disability workers walking away from the sector at a time when we should be focused on a staff attraction and retention strategy for the expected doubling of the workforce under the NDIS.
“Whichever way you look at it, privatising public disability services will create massive chaos and disruption to the delivery of quality disability services for people with a disability and their families for years to come.“
Mr Andrews denied any policy backflip.
“The irony of people protesting against the NDIS and its role, in this city of all places, just makes no sense at all,” he said.
“I’ve got a very different view but I value their work. The work done in the disability services sector is of critical importance.
“What we want to do is ensure that every client, carer and family member has access under the NDIS to the life-changing care and support that the scheme was designed to give them.
“That means the workforce needs to grow, that means there will be a competitive model.
“Victoria is not going to stand in the way of that and let ideology potentially cost us an efficient rollout.“
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