Home Care privatisation: Sale to hit Hunter workers

THE state government intends to privatise Home Care by selling the organisation to a single buyer, affecting the futures of about 4300 employees, including hundreds from the Hunter Region.

The Family and Community Services annual report says Home Care made a $9 million surplus in 2012-13, spending $224 million of state and federal funds to help 51,400 clients across the state.

In recent letters to staff, the government described the Home Care sale as part of a broader policy to move all of its ageing, disability and home care services into the non-government sector and the NDIS.

In one letter, Family and Community Services secretary Michael Coutts-Trotter said the government hoped to have a new owner chosen for Home Care by mid-2015, with the Commonwealth having extended its funding by a year to June 2016.

Mr Coutts-Trotter said the government had "positive meetings" with the relevant unions but rank-and-file members say the changes will hurt the service's ageing and disabled clients and its staff.

Opposition ageing and disability spokesperson Barbara Perry said the sale was "a perversion of the NDIS".

Ms Perry said community-based organisations had no faith in a tender against the likes of health fund Bupa and detention centre operator Serco.

She said there was "no evidence-based rationale" for the privatisation, which "treats some of our frailest citizens as business clients, not people".