Our Campaign for Publicly-Owned Services

  • 6 September 2015

CPSU resolved at its Federal Executive meeting in August to initiate a campaign for legislation to set limits around privatisation and to promote publicly owned and run services.  Public services are the foundation of a fair and just society. They extend opportunities, protect the vulnerable, and improve everyone’s quality of life. Public services strengthen our communities and bind us together as a society.  Our public services are under threat by state governments who want to contract-out their obligations to the highest bidder to make a profit. Time and again evidence has shown that privatisation does not result in better services for our communities. Privatisation means less public accountability and transparency, in many cases increased costs, and diminished working conditions for the people that work hard to provide these services.

Our union believes that public services are better when they are owned by us all: lower cost, more accountable, and more effective at serving the needs of our community. CPSU members believe that public services need to be run for public good, not for profit and we believe that the community needs to have a say about how our services are run – after all, public services are funded through our tax dollars.

This is why CPSU is initiating a campaign for legislation to set limits on privatisation by state governments.

Based on similar campaigns in the UK and the USA, the legislation in each state would ensure that governments could not privatise a public service unless strict criteria are met, including public consultation, realistic cost comparisons, accountability and transparency measures, and an option for the public to regain control over services once privatised.

Laws to limit the sale of services will mean that the community – the people who use public services – will get a say in how services are run.

The campaign for legislation around privatisation will complement the campaigns our branches are currently running to oppose privatisation where it is occurring, such as the privatisation of disability services in NSW and WA.

We all need to fight privatisation on the ground, but CPSU also believes a broad community campaign for legislation to set limits on privatisation is a vital part of ensuring that governments out to make a quick buck can’t have free reign to sell off our services.

Our union will be consulting with members shortly to develop a comprehensive criteria to set limits on privatisation, and to develop campaign activities for your state, so stay tuned.  For more information contact Clare Middlemas, National Campaigns Officer.