Few people will be surprised at the news coming out of the RC in to Aged Care.
When I was growing up, provision of public transport, water and electricity and many other ‘services’ was in the hands of some level of government.
It was not perfect, there were many grumbles, but it worked.
Plus, if the government provided the service, it also had the capacity to more readily subsidise it for those of more limited means.
More recently, governments have taken on provision of heavily subsidised hospital and medical services, while additional private health cover is an optional extra – as long as you can afford it!
Some Aged Care services are run by not-for-profit (NFP) organisations but a majority would be run by corporations – all of which have a duty to make a profit for their shareholders.
Provision of services has at times been seen as the responsibility of governments to ensure that every member of the community can be provided with basic needs.
Privatising has the immediate effect of increasing cost to the user of the service in order to accommodate shareholders’ dividends. Many would claim that a private organisation runs things more efficiently. This needs to be examined.
Both government and corporation have to employ people to run the service organisation. Cutting wage and salary expenses may reduce costs, (and increase dividends) but also may reduce the standards of the organisation.
Fewer reviews and less frequent maintenance have the same effect.
We all need a water supply, electricity or other source of power, medical services and education, so having a central, regulated provision by government surely makes more sense than expecting the least able to pay more in order to provide better incomes for shareholders?
And the latest disaster is when the most essential commodity – water – is being drawn by corporations to ‘purify’, bottle and sell while aquifers in more remote communities are running dry.
The only way privatisation can possibly work is if there is strict and realistic regulation.
That there is not has been and is being amply demonstrated in the Financial Institutions/Banking and Aged Care RCs, as well as in the privatisation of Centrelink services, which are destroying the lives of job seekers and Centrelink benefit recipients alike.
Those who make a career in politics seem to lack empathy, experience of life in the raw and a vision for the future.
Many people grumble about paying taxes, but if you look around the world, most of the citizens of the most heavily taxed countries are also the most contented. They willingly trade some of their earnings to ensure that everyone has a safety-net, there are no beggars, the sick get necessary treatment, education is available to all and necessary assistance in finding work is available.
This is not socialism in its derogatory context. It is essential humanity – which is MIA in Australia!
I am usually an optimist.
In a conversation today with a friend, she mentioned how things might be in 200 years’ time.
I expressed doubt whether our descendants will still be around in 200 years’ time!
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