Past privatisations have largely failed the public on services and jobs, warns ACTU

Australian Council of Trade Unions [ACTU]

Friday, 19 October 2012

Past privatisations have largely failed the public on services and jobs, warns ACTU

ACTU President, Ged Kearney, said that many essential services and public assets built up over time should not be sold off for short-term financial gain.

Ms. Kearney said that while the ACTU welcomed the debate regarding the use of superannuation funds for investment in and development of needed infrastructure, the issue of public control of essential services, commitment to secure jobs and provision of universal and high quality services would continue to be the first consideration for the union movement. 

"The public and workers' experience of privatisation in the past has been to see services decrease, costs go up, jobs lost or made less secure, and the public lose control over important and essential infrastructure.

"Previous rounds of privatisation have created monopolies and decreased investment in vital upkeep of some significant assets - neither of which has delivered for the public or the Governments that have enriched themselves in the short term.

"Nonetheless, there is a good case to be made for long-term investors such as superannuation funds to be able to put their money into new projects that have a public benefit.

"Opening up some assets to private sector investment may be of benefit to the community, as long as governments use the proceeds of asset sales to fund new infrastructure, and consider the full range of impacts on workers and the community.

"Any decision to sell assets should be on a case-by-case basis, and must be done in a way which ensures that the security of jobs and quality of services are fully protected.