Today the ASU has released a new report bringing together Australian and international research on privatisation to illustrate the detrimental impact it can have. Public opposition to privatisation is at a high pitch as more people become informed, yet some politicians remain intent on selling our public assets and in doing so, betray our communities.
The ASU report: "The Privatisation Betrayal: losing the things we value" discusses key aspects of privatisation which are of particular concern to Australian communities. In addition to detrimental impacts on finances, selling public assets can have negative impacts on local democracy and social equity.
"As a long term campaigner for essential service provision via the public sector, the ASU has fought to ensure those services are distributed on a needs basis not a price basis, and do not favour one section of society over another," said ASU Assistant National Secretary Greg McLean.
"Keeping these services in public hands is a critical safeguard as elected governments are kept accountable for making sure the services are delivered equitably and to the quality standards Australians expect."
Some public sector enterprises are so successful in raising revenue, that the dividends and other payments made to governments have sustained budgets year after year, enabling those governments to cross-subsidise and provide funding for schools, hospitals, scientific research, public housing, crisis accommodation and a broad range of essential services. When those successful enterprises are sold off for short term gain, long term consequences for other community services are ignored.
"We have campaigned over the years to show the value our communities lose via privatisation, from level and quality of services to local jobs to local investment – this new report is part of that campaign," said Greg McLean.
With so much research coming through in recent years, Australians are now far more informed than ever before on this issue. So when governments ignore public opposition to privatisation, they are in effect betraying Australian communities. For this reason and others, the ASU will continue to work with communities to draw attention to the ill-effects of privatisation, to prevent privatisation wherever possible and where it cannot be stopped, to demand increased accountability of private operators.