NSW public service workers stopped work for an hour on Wednesday to protest the state government’s changes to the disability sector.
Among their biggest gripes were changes to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), which transfers government-run disability services to private enterprises.
Speaking at the rally in Hunter Street, union delegates say about 60 per cent of people from the NSW government’s Ageing, Disability and Home Care (ADHC) department would lose their jobs under the new plans.
They also said 14,500 experienced care providers across the state would be severely affected by the NDIS.
With the Hunter being used as one of the trial sites for the NDIS rollout, about 2000 local people with a disability are expected to transition on to the new scheme over the next 12 months.
Michael Grant, a nurse from the Stockton Centre, said workers from ADHC had the skills and expertise needed that would lead to more positive results for people with a disability.
He said the privatisation of ADHC would also reduce the choice and quality of service for clients.
Disability care workers are also worried that the proposed privatisation of the ADHC is just the start of things to come, with the state government looking at potentially selling off other public services.
The state government also is mid-way through an overhaul of its homelessness services, with many Hunter service providers scrambling to make submissions for government funding due to close at the end of this month.