28th Mar 2018
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Commission backs private firms to deliver welfare
Author: Olga Galacho
Private firms backed for welfare

The Productivity Commission has rejected calls for private, for-profit companies to be barred from providing government-subsidised welfare services in its Reforms to Human Services Inquiry report.

In the 500-page report released this week, the commission recommended the Federal Government facilitate greater choice for Australians accessing Department of Human Services resources.

However, the commission said it “held a different view” to those who made submissions stating “that for-profit providers should be excluded from delivering human services arguing, among other things, that providers incentivised by profit are not suited to offer high-quality services to vulnerable people”.

In the report, it responded: “Human services are currently provided by a mix of government, not-for-profit and for-profit organisations. Experience shows that no one type of provider has a monopoly over good service provision and each has had successes and failures.”

It did, though, add that governments should focus on the capabilities and attributes of service providers when designing service arrangements and selecting providers – not simply the form of an organisation.

Also rejected by the commission was Anglicare Australia’s views that increasing competition in the delivery of human services was not a driver of efficiency.

The not-for-profit organisation had argued against a number of assumptions, including that “the innovation that comes with competition between providers is of benefit to service users; or that it is appropriate to equate individual consumer choice with agency and wellbeing”.

“The commission does not agree,” the report said. But it did concede that problems could emerge if “competition and contestability are poorly implemented and governments need to learn from the lessons of the past.”

Among the issues raised by those concerned about competition was that it damaged collaboration between providers, created funding uncertainty and forced providers to focus on writing tender applications at the expense of their core business.

However, the commission said it supported increased competition, not less, in part because it enabled service users to have more provider choice.

“This inquiry is about finding ways to put the people who use human services at the heart of service provision,” the commission said. “This matters because everyone will use human services in their lifetime and change is needed to enable people to have a stronger voice in shaping the services they receive, and who provides them.”

The report was first presented to the Government in October and it is still awaiting a formal response.

Broadly, it covered the areas of end-of-life care services; social housing; family and community services; services in remote Indigenous communities; patient choice over referred health services; and public dental services.

On the topic of palliative care, it said that more emphasis should be given to allowing people nearing the end of their lives to be accommodated in a way that more closely reflects their preferences.

It added that an expansion of community palliative care and improvements to the standards of residential aged care would be a step towards creating a better environment for those who are terminally ill.

Medical patients should be given more choice over who their health care provider is in order to feel as though they were being treated more in accordance with their preferences.

“A simple legislative change would help … public information is needed to support choice and encourage self-improvement by providers.”

The commission highlighted public dental care as an area that in particular needed to promote more patient choice. It said most services were focused on urgent needs and not enough was being done to promote preventative dental care.

The commission also said that “social housing was broken”. It recommended that financial assistance and tenancy support services should be “portable” across the private and social rental market.

Opinion: Too much choice could ruin welfare service delivery

Increasing consumer choice is a noble sentiment, except when there are too many options and it becomes overwhelming, increasing the risk that a bad choice will be made.

The Productivity Commission’s Reforms to Human Services Inquiry report clearly champions giving recipients of welfare and health resources a bigger say in how and from whom they receive services.

But is this any guarantee that hand-picked services will be any better than what is already on offer? If increasing competition for delivery of government-subsidised services is the end game and private companies that survive on profit are increasingly lured into the services sector, then we all know what will happen … quality of service will decline as costs are cut and bigger margins are delivered to the bottom line, to then be divvied up among stakeholders.

Anglicare, and other organisations who submitted their views on the issue, are right to sound a warning bell about the lack of evidence that increasing competition in the human services delivery sector will improve outcomes for recipients.

A system that regularly puts delivery of human services out to tender will inevitably benefit large companies with the resources to ‘fight’ in a cut-and-thrust competition. Smaller, not-for-profit groups do not have the same resources.

As opponents to extra competition wrote, it will wreck collaboration between providers, create funding uncertainty and force providers to focus on writing tender applications at the expense of their core business.

Consumer Action Law Centre (CALC) echoed those concerns in its own submission.

Yesterday, CALC chief executive Gerard Brody told YourLifeChoices there were other instances where the Federal Government had opened up a services sector to external competition with catastrophic consequences.

“This is what happened in the vocational training industry several years back. A whole lot of shonks got into it and lured unsuspecting students to take out huge VET loans and then failed to deliver adequate training,” Mr Brody said.

“Many students didn’t even realise they were incurring large debts thanks to the unscrupulous practice by some training organisations.

“We hope the commission’s report won’t be seen as a green light to bring contestability to more human services without adequate consumer protection in place first.”

Mr Brody said he was encouraged by the report’s call for governments to provide good stewardship over any expansion of service delivery and he hoped that lawmakers would heed that recommendation.

But back to the issue of choice. Often the people who need to avail themselves of subsidised services are not those best placed to distinguish between a plethora of options because they are either sick or frail, or disadvantaged in some other way.

Why, even those of us who have no impediments to sound judgement struggle with making decisions when confronted by too much choice.

This point was well-documented by The Australia Institute (TAI) a while back in a paper called Choice Overload, where it reported than consumers presented with too many options made for substandard decisions. 

Author Josh Fear wrote: “As the extent of choice grows in many facets of modern life – and particularly in the market place – it can become increasingly difficult for people to properly assess each option. Abundant choice creates what psychologist Barry Schwartz calls ‘a seemingly intractable information problem’, in which the ‘cost of thinking’ is simply too high.”

The thinking goes that rather than tackle a difficult selection, consumers disengage and switch to wanting to have the whole process done and dusted.

“Clearly, choice is not the uniformly positive attribute advocated by economic theory and celebrated in popular culture. Instead, choice can be good, bad or neither, depending on the context,” Mr Fear wrote.

One hopes governments do not push the delivery of human services towards that cliff.

Do you think more human services should be option to extra competition among providers? Is it fair for governments to pay wealthy companies to deliver services, while pocketing profits?

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    COMMENTS

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    Wstaton
    29th Mar 2018
    10:40am
    Here we go again. A Commission (loaded by the government probably) Say we will get more efficiency by privatization. Just like the electricity being privatized, medibank being privatized, CBA being privatized and many more. Can anyone state where a government enterprise after privatization has brought benefits to us the citizens. No! All it has brought is increased costs reduced access to facilities. Most of the inefficiencies in n organization like centrelink is becuase of the enormous overheads, added restrictions non human management and more.

    Typical of governments is if they say a government enterprise doesn't seem to be working is get rid of it then it's not our problem we can put the blame on someone else if it is not working.

    They are not interesting in fixing the management becuase this is what it boils down to. What would a private business do if a department was working out. Would they flog it of to someone else instead of looking at what it is not working. If they did this then they would probably end up without a business.

    We have seen lately that Many of these once government enterprises are now thinking they are above corporate responsibility, some are rorting others are instigating underhand techniques and even some are performing actions that could be considered bordering on criminal.

    The more privatization there is the more this will happen as they start thinking they are above it all.

    The problem is once it is sold off it's damn to get them back without considerable cost.

    Rember the flog off of all the telco lines to Telstra. It is costing heaps to get them all back for NBN.

    I dispair.
    ray from Bondi
    29th Mar 2018
    12:46pm
    yep I agree 100% that is how governments have the result they want, I saw somewhere probably on Yes minister that no government initiates a commision looking into something without being guaranteed the result will be what they want, on the few that do not go the way it should because somebody slips through the recruitment stage somehow is buried forever and never to be seen by the public.
    GeorgeM
    29th Mar 2018
    12:55pm
    Yes, and there are no end of examples of disastrous essential services when privatised e.g. Private Health Insurance, Electricity supply, etc.
    This Right-wing think tank, Productivity Commission, needs to be sacked for their constant attacks on the rights of people to have decent Govt and services! Labor keeping quiet?
    maelcolium
    29th Mar 2018
    1:12pm
    Agree completely Wstaton.

    Privatisation models capitalise the profits and socialise the losses. There is vast evidence this is a failed model and rather than more privatisation, the Government should be nationalising all essential services. Welfare is definitely one of them.

    Much of the western political class is wedded to the neoliberal policies which have been in vogue since the 1970's which have delivered more wealth to the elite and less to the majority of citizens. Incessant Corporate lobbying is destroying western society.
    Tib
    29th Mar 2018
    3:51pm
    I agree.
    Knows-a-lot
    29th Mar 2018
    4:56pm
    It's typical Lieberal skullduggery.
    TREBOR
    29th Mar 2018
    7:52pm
    Not one 'privatisation' effort has yet yielded more 'efficiency' - only higher costs and no better actual service.

    Privatisation is like my leaving my car with my mechanic and asking him to fix a small problem with the motor - I come back and he's installed a different motor that costs me twice as much to run and has a never-ending access charge attached - but the good news is I only have to pay for the fuel and the access every three months or so.

    Quite frankly he would have the arse sued off him...

    NO PRIVATISATION ANY MORE!
    buby
    2nd Apr 2018
    4:42pm
    yes i agree with maelcolium and Wstaton, It's typical Lieberal skullduggery.
    INdeed What they trying to RIP us off still!!! Don't make me sick,
    Really YOU Pollies are the Pits. You money hungry animals thats all you are. Stop wasting whats in the bag, it be a better option.
    Look after your own instead of squandering it for you unnecessary things. We all have too /why can't YOU lot do it?
    NOT impressed really
    marhold
    29th Mar 2018
    11:31am
    NO WAY! Privatisation leads to more grief/costs for the consumers/users
    buby
    2nd Apr 2018
    4:43pm
    and The Damn commission agrees, HOW stupid are they!!
    downunder
    29th Mar 2018
    12:03pm
    Here we go again: Making a profit on welfare! Typical LNP, just look at the rort of the recipient welfare card it costs more than it pays out. Definitely NO
    Knows-a-lot
    29th Mar 2018
    4:57pm
    Time to kick those bums out.
    Jen50
    29th Mar 2018
    12:05pm
    Definitely NOT!
    almost a grey hair
    29th Mar 2018
    12:20pm
    It is one of the 7 functions of a government to re-distribute wealth ie to take from the wealthy and companies in the form of taxes and to return those taxes to those less fortunate and those that have mental and physical disabilities in the form of welfare. As soon as you introduce private companies you have corruption as stated in the article. No No No
    bartpcb
    29th Mar 2018
    12:22pm
    This is ridiculous. It can only be a Right wing Liberal idea and they've loaded a Commission in their favour. This bunch of self serving sycophants to American capitalist ideologies are going to wreck this country. They really need to be kicked out for a very very long time.
    GeorgeM
    29th Mar 2018
    12:57pm
    Exactly! But, Labor keeps quiet too! Both need to be thrown out otherwise this Commission will not be removed.
    Leoan
    29th Mar 2018
    12:47pm
    NO - this is bad governance! I've always known that welfare services are for those who needs them and I view it as a total responsibility of the Government, we voted them to serve us and not to "pass the buck", of its significant bulk, to the "shark-end" of the market. Since when did privatisation did us any good financially? I wonder if the Liberals will survive the next Federal election!
    john
    29th Mar 2018
    12:57pm
    Welfare to be privatised, should not even be a question!

    LOGIC COMMENT= PRIVATE BUSINESS ' WHOLE AIM IS TO MAKE PROFIT.

    Welfare will never belong to the profit industry, this would be a disaster , people with one track business opportunity minded or typed searchers, only think this way,
    sensible people would never think this way.

    To me even the suggestion is terrifying, that any one would even think about it.
    No government utility should be put in the hands of private business , because private business is ONLY about profit, I am amazed that a committee looking at this subject could come up with this as a suggestion, plus it is an electoral nightmare for who ever brought it in as policy they would be wiped out.
    Makes me wonder who was on the committee,probably those types who do not live in the real society that the rest do, and have no idea.
    buby
    2nd Apr 2018
    4:46pm
    A business,LOL they are sick ppl.
    HOW can it be a business.
    MONKEY business is more like it???
    and the Poor would never benefit from it,
    so what is it good for????
    Absolutely NOTHING.
    maelcolium
    29th Mar 2018
    1:06pm
    What can you expect from the PC who tailor their reports to suit the Government of the day? This is the same organisation who originally did not support reducing penalty rates and then after Government asked for a reconsider did an about face and supported it which fed into the erroneous decision of the so called Fair Work Council.

    The PC are part of the Canberra groupthink and should be discarded as irrelevant.
    HarrysOpinion
    29th Mar 2018
    1:14pm
    Absolutely pathetic proposition to privatise government-subsidised welfare services.

    So what will happen if the private service provider goes insolvent and in order not go bust it hikes up the service charges? Will the government step in and take over? At what cost?

    To shed itself of government-subsidised welfare service this government is not talking about a piece of paper, it's talking about shedding public service employees out of their current jobs. Is this the Jobs and Growth policy that Turnbull so cherishes or is it a con job?

    Had the Australian government retained 100% ownership of the Commonwealth Bank the Federal Treasury would be rolling in billions and retaining annual Budget surplus but they didn't have the 'nous' , they didn't have the intellect and didn't have the fortitude to think what was coming ahead of them in the future AND THEY STILL DON'T. Their attitude and policies of "She'll be right mate" She'll be all apples" has come back to bite them on their proverbials. "

    When a pollie retires he gets an annual pension that is 10 times the full old age pension. "So, tell it to someone who cares...if you can find one "

    We have had inept federal governments. Something has to change.
    PennWeaver
    29th Mar 2018
    1:17pm
    Good Grief what a really stupid idea, then we have many milking the system such as NDIS and Aged Care (although Aged Care is a farce). Welfare is not a business and Government would have to fund these private individual companies so more money in someone elses pocket except those who need it? Where does it all end? the government don't want any responsibility and are so busy handing it off to get others to do their work and then create jobs for themselves to check that those are actually doing the work properly .. what a merry go round farce it all is.

    29th Mar 2018
    1:19pm
    I think it’s great
    Competition is good
    The private sector will provide a better service st a lower cost
    We should go further and get rid of the government agencies and let the private companies compete against each other for business
    Win win win for the taxpayer, customer and the investor
    ex PS
    29th Mar 2018
    4:43pm
    Maybe you can furnish us all with some examples where Privatization has led to a reduction in client costs and an increase in the quality of services.
    Rae
    29th Mar 2018
    6:26pm
    Competition has been a failure in tertiary education, the NDIS, electricity provision and employment services. Water management is failing badly with shortages and theft. We haven't even started rail services but Newcastle and the Illawarra commuters are livid already.

    We should get a cost analysis at each 3 year period and damn Commercial in Confidence for public money spends.

    Once the Government earned revenue with services and that cut the cost but now private providers get the tax money and there doesn't seem to be any reporting of the cost to the taxpayers.

    This is not the Government providing all this money it's actually we taxpayers and I'd really like to see the figures for each of the privatisations.

    Shortly we will have no need for Government because they won't be doing anything at all except raising their salaries and bonuses and fighting with each other.

    On the train today I heard NSW has sold acres of water side land at Vales Point ( decommissioned power station) to Obeid for $1 million dollars and it's worth just under 1 Billion.

    This is the sort of thing that goes on when you lose accountability by just handing public money over to private operators.
    TREBOR
    29th Mar 2018
    8:52pm
    There is no competition with a captive audience, Rafe. Handing mates the chance to shoot fish in a barrel is NOT business - it is theft.
    Anonymous
    30th Mar 2018
    3:22am
    You’re confusing communism with free market capitalism again Trebor
    What you are referring to is communist monopoly
    Free market will ensure competition
    ex PS
    30th Mar 2018
    7:39am
    Like I said, forget about tired over used party rhetoric, if want people to swallow your line, you need to give examples of where privatization has benefited the customer by reducing costs and providing better services.
    If it does not, it is just another example of government dodging its responsibilities. If as you say, privatization will save us all money, it should be quite easy to provide examples of where this is happening.
    It is easy to pay someone to do your job for you when someone else is providing the money.
    TREBOR
    31st Mar 2018
    2:13am
    'You’re confusing communism with free market capitalism "

    Hardly, my son - I'm confusing nothing, and until this ridiculous idea was mooted, there was NO concept of 'competition' or 'free enterprise'.

    Please explain why free enterprise should be allowed to run and control government expenditure..... government is a service to the people - not to 'free enterprise'.

    It is you who are mistaken here.

    What competition will there be when ONE organisation is contracted to do a government job? Or when several are contracted to do that job, as with power supply, and end up being an oligarchy with access to that same government to control pricing?

    Don't make me laugh...... show me ONE 'privatised' venture that has created more efficiency and lower prices due to 'competition'.

    I won't be holding my breath...
    Rae
    2nd Apr 2018
    7:06am
    You don't have free markets in a kleptocracy. It is government contracts signing away other people's money. What competition can there possibly be?

    And the latest scam of Commercial in Confidence mean at least 30 years until we find out where our money went and we may never know why.

    If the Government was dead set willing to do things they'd have used debt during this cheap money phase to build cheap housing as rentals and to create assets that would produce revenue.

    Instead each new bunch has simply privatised their way into million dollar incomes after politics.

    I'd like the contract to set up a welfare card at $10 000 a pop too. No doubt about it in a world where money isn't worth anything anymore.
    sunnyOz
    29th Mar 2018
    1:52pm
    Oh good god no! Look what has happened to everything else that gets privatized! Just another way for fat cats to pay themselves huge salaries with not an ounce of interest in their 'customers'. God help us - because no-one else will be able to!
    Not a Bludger
    29th Mar 2018
    1:58pm
    Certainly worth a look at - couldn’t be worse or cost more than the over staffed Centrelink.
    Sundays
    29th Mar 2018
    8:09pm
    It will cost more. I worked for a Government agency that was privatised in the late 1990s. First we get rid of the public servants with all the knowledge. We replace them with people who we can pay less. We make them meet targets, so that customer service is ignored. These people are always leaving because they can get more money elsewhere. We patch up the existing IT systems. However, we make sure the senior executives are paid triple the rate the Public Service paid them. We wear smart suits, spend on lovely foyer. Very much a case of ‘Fur coat, no knickers’ then a few years later we sell at a profit, because of course we got the business cheap! I was a well paid manager, but left when the culture didn’t sit right. The money spent on my farewell was more than the training budget
    Sundays
    29th Mar 2018
    8:32pm
    On paper we look OK. We have a few new clients who weve conned to outsource to us, we charge heaps, our non executive salaries are low, as is our spend on infrastructure but of course the cost of having to constantly train new staff isn’t factored in. As for the end user, well service to them is abysmal, but hey we couldn’t care less about clients, and it will be even less for clients on Centrelink.
    leek
    30th Mar 2018
    12:03am
    Not a bludger- which century do you think that Centrelink is overstaffed? Why do you think it takes hours to get centrelink on the phone, or an hour of sitting on hold or more if you do get past the engaged signal.
    why do you think it takes 4-5 months for Students to have their Youth seeker allowance claims go through?
    why do you think it takes months for most clains to be processed?
    Let me tell you why everything is taking way way long time- centrelink is understaffed- Not overstaffed. You obviously have little or nothing to do with centrelink the last 4 years or more.
    Rae
    31st Mar 2018
    9:20am
    Centrelink has been stifled as the carpetbaggers tried to figure out ways to get their hands on welfare money. There are billions of taxpayer dollars to be siphoned off. Indue failed due to inefficiency and greed.
    If a huge Corporation does take over you can be sure a lot of the taxpayer dollars will be creamed off in one way or another.
    There is huge profit and kickback money in the welfare cards as just one example.
    Every dollar of public money should be accounted for and then we would see exactly how much "competition" is costing us.
    Ted Wards
    29th Mar 2018
    2:12pm
    Just pointing out something. A not for profit organisation is still a business and nuns as a business. The only difference is that no one can draw dividends from whatever money is accumulated. The likes of Anglicare etc are all not for profit businesses, run as businesses. Welfare has been run on this model for years. They are still private businesses.

    The real issue is whether the government should be a regulator/goverance etc or also provide services such as welfare. As one working for a long time in this field its better when they regulate and leave the service delivery to service providers. It works in many industries and is just about to go big time under NDIS. It has been this way in aged care and disability for some time.
    Anonymous
    29th Mar 2018
    2:29pm
    Agree - all service delivery should be privatized
    TREBOR
    29th Mar 2018
    11:30pm
    Including mental health services?
    Anonymous
    30th Mar 2018
    3:20am
    Yep - looks like government mental health services hasn’t worked for you
    TREBOR
    31st Mar 2018
    2:14am
    Certainly has done nothing for you....
    Rae
    31st Mar 2018
    9:26am
    Saw an interview recently with one of the disabled spokespersons who thought it was just fine that workers in the NDIS would be kept on minimal casual contracts as that worked better for the disabled.

    The providers will make a lot of money, the disabled will be serviced and the workers will pay the cost of a life of poverty and insecurity.

    As far as I'm concerned that is definitely not okay.

    How these people can think it okay is beyond me. We are turning into terrible people using selfishness to excuse abuse.
    Travellersjoy
    29th Mar 2018
    2:17pm
    Take a look at what privatisation has done to the NDIS, and shudder.

    The 'productivity commission' is an agent of big business, neoliberal trickle down economics, and should not be allowed anywhere near the public sector and general services to the Australian people.

    Let them focus their attention on helping big business produce some quality jobs, and quality goods and services that are competent and reliable. Big business needs their help desperately or they wouldn't be begging for a tax cut.
    Anonymous
    29th Mar 2018
    2:30pm
    Agree that ALL business should get a tax cut to grow the economy and more jobs
    TREBOR
    30th Mar 2018
    1:00am
    *falls about laughing*
    Rae
    31st Mar 2018
    9:42am
    If the Productivity Commission could figure out a way to share the huge productivity gains out then the economy could grow and there would be demand for more workers.

    As it is the "Productivity" is tied up in tax havens like the Caymans, a few people have the money and won't spend it fast enough to create demand.

    If businesses used the productivity wisely we wouldn't be in this mess. There has been a huge trickle up of profit and there it has remained.

    The Productivity Commission has done a terrific job for the top 10% of wealth owners. Amazing really.

    When the economy finally collapses the Commissioners should all be sacked immediately.
    disillusioned
    29th Mar 2018
    2:44pm
    OH, NOOO! Trust this goverrnment to weasel its way out of providing funding for essential welfare services. Let the private sector get its hands on it, and services will be slashed left, right and centre! These silvertails in government at present can afford to fund the best for themselves, families, friends and cronies, but the rest of us neglected ones are doing it tough. Haven't these LNP bods done enough damage to welfare services, without letting their mates in the private sector do more damage, and line their own pockets at the same time? If privatisation is brought in, the Welfare Sector would become a "for profit" concern before we could even blink!
    Wstaton
    31st Mar 2018
    2:51pm
    They have to find the money somewhere to pay for the $60 billion tax cuts to business.
    Grateful
    29th Mar 2018
    3:15pm
    Maybe while Jeff Kennett now has a bit more time on his hands the government is looking for a way to take advantage of his outstanding privatization capabilities. (Joking Joyce).
    Wstaton
    31st Mar 2018
    2:52pm
    You bet he was the one who started all this business selling off the electricity assets.
    Dragrush
    29th Mar 2018
    3:30pm
    The Productivity Commission ( and its predecessors ) have yet to come up with welfare schemes and policies that will work in the real world. I doubt if any on the committee members overseeing this report have worked in the industry or started out as many of us in menial jobs and then worked our way up or have any inkling of what privatisation is all about. From my knowledge and experience every agency or department that has been privatised has jacked up pricing and reduced service levels to the point of where it almost non-existent and we should question why did they ever let them do it in the first place.
    Centrelink does have its faults but it is not overstaffed and they have to do a shitty job in dealing with all types of whingers and no hopers as well as the genuine people who need help . I respect their efforts and the private sector could not do a better job than they are doing now.
    Whoever started this topic for the Commission to look at is obviously looking for brownie points to use in their next job application somewhere. The reality is that what ius being proposed is the thin edge of the wedge and mark my words that it wont be long before they push to have the family home included in the assets test.
    Wouldn't it be great if we had an agency that was set up to cut costs and reduce prices of iur services . Bring back the toe cutters because we need them to make life affordable again.
    Rae
    29th Mar 2018
    6:38pm
    It will be up to us to bring prices back by just not buying.

    Really rates/rent yes, water yes, cheap real food yes.

    Unless a medical need exists everything else can be cut.

    Regardless of Ayn Rand and Milton Freedman the economy is demand driven. Money supply creates demand. Every business person knows it's all about the cashflow.

    The Productivity Commission is staffed with neo liberal believers and nothing short of a complete capital collapse ever brings them to their senses. They just keep believing they are in charge and it's all about the supply side.
    TREBOR
    29th Mar 2018
    11:40pm
    'privatisation' always involves captive audiences, Rae - such as power, gas, roads, water, etc.

    These are basics of a modern civilisation that nobody can do without, and thus are open to monopoly, or at the very least oligarchy.

    You don't really think that governments pursue 'privatisation' for any substantial reason, do you?

    It's all to remove themselves from direct responsibility, while still accruing benefit, and while allowing their cronies - friends, family, old school buddies - a free shot at the public purse that is wide open in this nation - the same as any Third World petty dictatorship.

    No more clear example was the Greiner government 'privatising' roads that were lifelines to expanding Sydney, and then having the 'premier', Greiner himself, and his wife, 'buy' one quarter of one quarter of the 'venture', thus ensuring themselves of a return in the millions for life.

    Corruption, anyone?

    You can sue me, Greiner - but that won't work, and your assassination team had better be pretty good....meanwhile garbage like this new phase in 'privatisation' are pushing me to stand for election despite all the lies you and your kind have placed against me in the past.

    You must e stronger than you ever knew how to be.... Kyle to Sarah Connor in 'Terminator'.....

    WHEN I stand - wait for the sh!t and lies to start flying.... then view my documents....
    Rae
    31st Mar 2018
    10:02am
    The Americans brought the Central Bankers, Wall Street and the Government to their knees when they stopped spending in 2009.

    Wallets slammed shut and yes it was very very bad but it made everyone who was an ideologist of neo classical theory realise the importance of demand.

    The people were okay and the Government changed.

    America is recovering.

    If everyone stopped using debt to spend the importance of demand and ensuring cashflow to the people would be made.

    Yes we need roads, gas. power etc but not in the short term.

    I can live quite nicely for considerable time with just shelter, water and food. I added medical as I know some people need that too.

    I've a firm belief the only way out of this race to the bottom is to hit that bottom but make sure the top hits it with us and then we can work out how to rise together.
    rob101
    29th Mar 2018
    3:38pm
    Nay Nay and Thrice Nay! This has happened in the U.K. and has been a DISASTER!
    You will find the BUPA will be one of the Organizations pushing for this here after the mess they have made in the U.K.

    rob101
    tactful
    29th Mar 2018
    3:49pm
    As far back as the late 1980's to early 1990's, there was talk of using private industry to deliver Welfare Services.
    At that time Centrelink (DSS) would grant claims etc., welfare recipients would then be linked to the closest private provider and they would then do all their business through them.
    Recipients would have all the same rights of appeal decisions etc, none of these important issues would change.
    As to fixing the system, it is what it is, only changes to the actual Legislation will make welfare payments easier.
    It is always easy to blame the front line staff for administering the Legislation, especially when an individual does not get what they believe they are entitled to.
    Wake up call for all - NONE OF US ARE ENTITLED TO WELFARE.
    For ease of access across the whole continent the use of private industry will deliver this.
    When will people who have never worked for DSS/CES/CSDA/Centrelink stop talking about things they know nothing about.
    If you do not like the actual rules, that is the Social Security Legislation, then I strongly suggest you write you concerns to your local Federal Member of Parliament.
    Social Security Legislation is a Federal responsibility, write to them and complain.
    Colette
    29th Mar 2018
    4:32pm
    The proposal that private for-profit organisations should be allowed to deliver social/health/community services, is quite ludicrous. The very term 'for-profit' should send shivers down one's back when used in the same sentence as social/health/community services! These services should be left in the capable more caring hands of government or not-for-profit organisations. These organisations have to answer to the government, but for-profit orgs. answer first to their shareholders. Work it out!
    Wstaton
    31st Mar 2018
    2:57pm
    Not sure whether governments are caring anymore.
    ex PS
    29th Mar 2018
    4:45pm
    Just another example of government trying to dodge its responsibilities. Here's a good idea, why don't we privatize government?
    Anonymous
    29th Mar 2018
    5:15pm
    Government should be concerned on;y with passing legislation, ensuring good governance and security of its citizens.
    All services should be privatised with competent professionals paid by the taxpayer to ensure value for money and contractual obligations of the service provider is met
    Rae
    29th Mar 2018
    6:49pm
    I don't mind Raphael as long as the same accountability applies and the penalties are servere enough to guarantee compliance.

    We don't really need three tiers anymore now that the government is just a go between the taxpayer and the provider.

    The Constitution means we are stuck with the States but local and even Federal could go.

    A team from COAG could run federal contract submissions and compliance surely. The Governor General handles hospitality of foreign dignitaries and could liaise with COAG.

    Coag could pass legislation, ensure governance and security. Serco does security reasonably well. The armed forces can talk to COAG.

    Much cheaper and COAG would actually control the States in the end from the inside.
    ex PS
    30th Mar 2018
    7:48am
    And your examples of where this has happened Raphael?
    We have a system where All services provided by competent professionals paid by the taxpayer to ensure value for money and contractual obligations of the service provider is met.
    It is called the Public Service, all you would be doing with your suggestion is to add another layer of blood sucking parasites who will call themselves "Management "and work for inflated salaries.
    All that privatization achieves is to cost the tax payer more for lesser services.
    Rae
    31st Mar 2018
    10:31am
    Yes ex PS and the workers doing the actual labour on short term, low pay, casual contracts that ensure they can never share in the profits.
    Dot
    29th Mar 2018
    4:49pm
    I'm a firm believer in the death penalty, and those who have sold off or privatised taxpayer assets should be dealt with severely. My dearest wish is to live long enough to see the next financial crisis which is just around the corner and those criminal bastards targeted.
    Can you see the rorting going on if the welfare was privatised and employed some of those foreigners that cannot be trusted.
    Knows-a-lot
    29th Mar 2018
    4:55pm
    Once private firms get involved, the profit motive rears its ugly head.
    Anonymous
    29th Mar 2018
    5:11pm
    The profit motive will ensure excellent customer service, efficiency and value for money to the government
    TREBOR
    29th Mar 2018
    11:42pm
    It will ensure profit anyway........
    ex PS
    30th Mar 2018
    7:50am
    To the government maybe, but not to the customer. You seem to forget, the government is there to serve the people, not the other way round.
    Rae
    31st Mar 2018
    10:34am
    The Government does not generate income. It is purely a collection agency these days and supposed to oversee the redistribution of taxes.

    They are failing to collect taxes fairly and then choosing to redistribute to themselves and mates.

    It can't continue indefinitely.
    Nan Norma
    29th Mar 2018
    5:17pm
    A PENSION is a fund into which a sum of money is added during an employee's employment years, and from which payments are drawn to support the person's retirement from work in the form of periodic payments. A PENSION is different than welfare.
    Old Geezer
    29th Mar 2018
    5:37pm
    An employer adds money into an employees super fund during his working life. An employee can also add extra. It is called the accumulation phase. When a person retires or reaches a certain age the fund is converted into pension phase and a certain amount per year is drawn down by the employee to support himself in retirement.

    You are right the OAP is welfare and is not a pension at all.
    Nan Norma
    29th Mar 2018
    6:27pm
    Old Geezer. That is the case now, but it didn't use to be before superannuation came in. Tax was paid to the goverment for a pension.
    TREBOR
    29th Mar 2018
    11:44pm
    Wrong again, OG - an employer does not 'add' money into superannuation for employees - the superannuation contribution is IN LIEU of a wage rise.....

    Get your mind right..... we need no failure to communicate here....
    ex PS
    30th Mar 2018
    7:57am
    I suggest you read some of Keatings memoirs O.G, you will find that he attests that Super was always intended to supplement retirement income not replace the O.A.P and that it was also intended that a certain percentage of the money contributed by the employer was in lieu of wage rises.
    You can't rewrite history just to justify a false claim. It does not matter how many times you try to redirect the conversation with your silly comments about welfare, the facts remain the facts.
    Rae
    29th Mar 2018
    6:11pm
    What is wrong with Government using the taxes we pay to supply the services we are paying for.
    Privatisation has gone far enough and failed over and over to provide cheaper and more efficiency.
    What is next, every bridge we aver built sold off to mates so they can charge a toll whenever we cross?
    TREBOR
    29th Mar 2018
    11:50pm
    Governments prefer to spend that money on their pet schemes, Rae... not on their 'core' duties... and one of those 'pet schemes' is to give a nice little earner to a few old mates who substitute for what was once the (division of) power of the public service to offer.... advice to government based on thorough and tested knowledge ....before Howard and His Reich destroyed the senior management of the PS, and successive 'government's further diluted the Public Service (one main arm of division of powers in a democracy), by 'out-sourcing' many of their functions.

    Division of Powers in this nation has been destroyed by government of both 'left' and 'right, for the purpose of gaining absolute control so as to ensure riches beyond belief for themselves and their cronies.

    I don't think I can be more clear than that.

    Straight out of the CIA playbook and I know of what I speak.
    ex PS
    30th Mar 2018
    8:02am
    I think people miss the point of privatization, it is not about being able to save money at all, what it is about is being able to throw ones hands up in the air when things go wrong and say "It is not my fault, we pay so and so to look after that. "
    The government does not have to take the blame for having blood on its hands, because it subcontracted the job to a private provider.
    Rae
    31st Mar 2018
    10:36am
    Yes Indue and the privately run correction and detention centres are prime examples of inefficiency and waste of public money.
    Crazy Horse
    29th Mar 2018
    6:17pm
    We've seen how disasterous replacing the Commonwealth Emoyment Service with private for profit (non-job providers has been. Our once excellent TAFE system has been gutted. No more.
    ex PS
    30th Mar 2018
    8:07am
    Yes, TAFE used to be about providing a quality service, now it is about making a profit.
    It started out with the quite reasonable premise of spending within your budget and was soon degraded t a system where if you wanted the best equipment, you had to bring in the money to pay for it.
    Not too easy for those Faculties that chew through thousands of dollars of consumables like steel and electricity every month, but easy enough if all you use is software and a desk.
    musicveg
    31st Mar 2018
    1:28pm
    I agree Crazy Horse, CES was a much better system with caring and professional staff, now you get young untrained uncaring people pushing hard to keep their numbers up.
    Tafe used to be available for everyone, now it seems to be less and less availability. They closed many down, I guess because it was not 'profitable'.
    MICK
    29th Mar 2018
    6:33pm
    Very funny Olga. You are a comedian.
    We all know what happened to the cost of health cover when the government flogged it off. We all know what happened to employment agencies and education when the government got out. Now you propose that an advisory commission set up by this bad bad government be taken seriously when it recommends that the social security system be passed on to the private sector.

    Please look up the word 'PROFIT' and then look at what the private sector will do. You should be intelligent enough to comprehend this. God help Australians if this were to proceed.
    Olga
    31st Mar 2018
    4:40pm
    Hi Mick. Olga here. Please read my opinion piece. I am alarmed that the Government may consider privatising welfare. My news piece stated the facts. My opinion piece outlined my concerns. Neither were comedic.
    Cheers
    Charlie
    29th Mar 2018
    6:33pm
    There is a great myth that seems to be dominating our way of life. It says that change is the answer to everything.
    To make things better it may still be alright to use the same system, but to apply more care and skill about the way things are done.
    musicveg
    31st Mar 2018
    1:30pm
    Yes, they should learn to fix it and not start a new. The cost of change itself is expensive, all those new signs, logos and new websites.
    Triss
    29th Mar 2018
    7:26pm
    Seriously, with all the privatisation that has gone on why do we need politicians anymore?
    Wendy HK
    29th Mar 2018
    7:47pm
    Who are they trying to kid??
    Privatisation means someone wants to maximise profits - not help out anyone!
    My vote -NO!
    TREBOR
    29th Mar 2018
    7:49pm
    Who gives one damn what som'commission' says?

    Welfare is already pretty much in private hands - St Vincents, Anglicare or whatever... you name it...

    SOCIAL SECURITY on the other hand is a bound and determined government activity and there is NO place for private intruders into the private and personal rights and activities of those involved.

    There Endeth The Lesson!
    BundyGil
    29th Mar 2018
    8:26pm
    The productivity Commission has often been justly criticised for pushing pushing inappropriate privatisation. They seem to.have a very blinkered view that privatisation is appropriate for any situation which can only be described as stupid.

    Privatisation only works where there is clearly a case that there will be true competition, not sóme sórt of manufactured privatisationime as happened with the electricity privatisation shamozzle, which has resulted in just about.the highest electricity prices in the world.
    Charlie
    29th Mar 2018
    9:58pm
    The Libs have seen stats, saying they are going to lose the next election. Now there is this urgency to make as many extreme right wing changes as possible. There is crazy stuff popping up everywhere?
    TREBOR
    29th Mar 2018
    11:53pm
    Got it in one, Charlie - laying the minefield for any future government.

    What a way to 'manage' a nation..... kick them all out.
    ex PS
    30th Mar 2018
    8:09am
    As usual the government makes a mess for someone else to clean up.
    musicveg
    31st Mar 2018
    1:32pm
    That makes sense Charlie, the mess it up for the next government so they can ride it later and say 'look what they did' Liberal and Labour continue the blame game even further.
    MD
    30th Mar 2018
    5:33pm
    A 'for profit' (Human Services) provider - doling out Treasury funds ? Presuming accountability falls to gubbermint, or an arm thereof, then my question is - who'll keep the bastards honest ? Both parties. That implementation of this proposed charade would amount to the first blow of the 'thin edge of the wedge' adds new meaning to the cliche 'business as usual' .
    TREBOR
    31st Mar 2018
    2:07am
    WELL! The majority vote here,apart from the few Usual Suspects, says that ANY privatisation is a farce and is costly to the end user in one way or another.

    Either the primary user pays through the nose for it, or it is paid for, to 'contracted firms' and 'consultants' out of taxpayer's money.

    I do trust that at the end of this day YLC will forward this to the appropriate 'minister' (read lackey for vested interests and nothing more but an overpaid stooge)....

    And you may add my comment..... it's time to call a stooge a stooge....
    musicveg
    31st Mar 2018
    1:36pm
    Seems to me most people here understand this farce. It is about them wiping their hands of responsiblity so they can look good further down the track and say ' not out fault' when things go wrong. Secondly it is allowing more business to open up for their business mates. I don't see how it will create more choices and better customer service, especially when most CEO's have to be paid so much and the lower workers are always feeling undervalued whilst doing the hard work. Fix the current system, recycle and re-use, the cost of change is too much. Human services should NEVER be about the DOLLAR.
    Big Kev
    1st Apr 2018
    8:30am
    The trouble with the Productivity Commission is that it only includes economists. It needs to be amended to include Social Scientists who undetstand the effect on communities. Only then will it produce sensible reports.


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