|Issue No 85||23 February 2001|
Competitive Tendering Hits Welfare Sector
Operators of disability advocacy and information services have been told by the Carr Government they will need to undergo a competitive tendering process to get funding for the next financial year.
A total of 36 disability services across the state have been notified by their funding body, the Department of Ageing and Disability, that all existing funding to their services beyond June 30 will cease to exist. They have been asked to lodge tenders by March 3.
While the Carr Government has turned back the tide on competitive tendering in key sectors like rail and road maintenance in recent times, the push into the welfare sector is alarming unions.
Australian Services Union Branch Secretary Luke Foley, says the move will place jobs at risk and that the track record of tendering in human services to date has been abysmal.
"The Commonwealth has been doing this for ages, but this is the first example in NSW where community sector agencies have been asked to compete with with each other for their existing funding pool," Foley says.
The expressions of interests have been called under the auspices of allocating $1 million in new funding for individual advocacy work. But instead of only seeking bids for this money, agencies are being asked to tender for their entire budgets.
The ASU says there are fears from members that those agencies that have been critical of government policy, will now be made to pay for their 'systemic advocacy'.
A spokesman for the Ageing and Disability Minister Faye Lo Po has denied the policy amounts to 'competitive tendering'. "The process will be done by calling for expressions of interests and funding will be allocated on that basis and the major peak organisations will be included in the process."
The ASU's response? "Sounds like competitive tendering to us!"
The Labor Council has resolved to support the union and seek an urgent meeting with the Minister Faye Lo Po.
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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005