Disability forum in Newcastle on Tuesday

DETERMINED: The Public Service Association held a large rally against the privatisation of NSW disability services as part of the NDIS in February this year.

DETERMINED: The Public Service Association held a large rally against the privatisation of NSW disability services as part of the NDIS in February this year.

DISABILITY sector unions are holding a forum in Newcastle on Tuesday evening, giving “desperate families a chance to have their say” over the privatisation of NSW disability services as part of the NDIS.

The forum organised by the Public Service Association (PSA) and the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) is the latest tactic in the union movement’s battle to convince the state government to retain a state-run “safety net” or “carer of last resort” within the NDIS.

The PSA’s assistant general secretary, Troy Wright, said on Monday that the families of those adversely affected by the privatisation of disability services had been crying out to be heard.

“The NSW Government has turned its back on the looming consequences of its complete withdrawal from the disability sector,” Mr Wright said. 

“We will work with people with disability, their advocates, families, workers, health professionals, academics and concerned community members and ask them what a public disability safety net should look like.” 

Mr Wright said the state government needed to take account of a Productivity Commission report into NDIS costs, handed down in October, which warned state governments not to “prematurely withdraw” their services, leaving everything to the NDIS.

“By the middle of 2018, the Berejiklian state government will have completely withdrawn from the disability sector in NSW,” Mr Wright said.

“There is not going to be the expert staff nor the money to properly service people with disability under the NDIS and in seven months time, the NSW Government will have completely stepped out of that space, abandoning the entire sector.”

NSW Disability Services Minister Ray Williams said the transfer of disability services to the non-government sector had been agreed to by federal Labor as well as the Coalition state government.

“The NDIS is one of the greatest social and economic reforms in Australian history,” Mr Williams said.

The forum: Hunter Trades Hall,  406-408 King Street, Newcastle, from 5pm to 7pm, Tuesday, November 14.