This submission comments on the Productivity Commission’s inquiry into introducing competition and informed user choice into human services.

Jesuit Social Services is a strong advocate for innovative and quality human services.

Our programs have developed in response to local community needs, working with the community to support those most vulnerable in our society.

This submission draws on our experience undertaking this work, including by partnering with governments to deliver a wide variety of human services.

Our key recommendations to the Commission are to:

  • Reinforce the important role played by government and human services together in addressing complex and dynamic social problems (i.e. addressing entrenched disadvantage).
  • Recognise that community organisations should not be seen simply as government service delivery arms, but as co-producers of policy and program solutions.
  • Recognise that the role of government must be greater than that of a service purchasing agency – in some circumstances government will be best placed to deliver services.
  • Ensure there is robust evaluation of the recent experiences of commissioning and tendering of government services to ensure that vulnerable communities do not lose out through marketisation.
  • Avoid undue haste in implementation of any reforms and ensure careful and considered planning with high levels of stakeholder engagement.

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The People’s Inquiry into Privatisation

Jesuit Social Services also made a complementary submission to the People’s Inquiry into Privatisation initiated by the Public Services International (PSI) Australia.

This inquiry runs parallel to the Productivity Commission inquiry.

Instead of looking into ways to further marketise and privatise public services for the benefit of business, it will build a comprehensive national picture of privatisation and its impacts on people, and report on alternatives to privatisation.

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