Submission by SA Unions to the Legislative Council Select Committee Inquiry into the Privatisation of Public Services in South Australia.

15 September 2021



Ms Leslie Guy


C/- Parliament House

GPO Box 572,

Adelaide 5001

By email:


Dear Ms. Guy,


Submission by SA Unions to the Legislative Council Select Committee Inquiry into the Privatisation of Public Services in South Australia.


SA Unions is the peak trade union council for South Australia. Through its affiliated organisations, it represents approximately 160,000 union members in all industries and sectors.

Improving the wages, working conditions and safety of employees is a major focus for the union movement as is protecting workers from exploitation and the theft of hard-won salary and superannuation entitlements.

Beyond the workplace union members and their families are citizens of South Australia.  They pay taxes and they use and own the services and amenities of this State which have been built up over many generations.

The assets of this State, and the services its citizens enjoy, are part of our shared wealth.

We elect governments to administer these assets and services on our behalf.  Through the processes of government, we can scrutinise what is happening to those services, we can hold bureaucracies and Ministers accountable, and we have rights to challenge decisions about the management of those services.

We are robbed of those rights when we elect governments that deny they have a privatisation agenda then promptly set about selling our assets and leasing our services for private profit. Democracy suffers from privatisation.

Most of the major privatisations in this state have seen interstate or foreign owned consortiums take control of critical public assets and services.  South Australia’s sovereignty suffers from privatisation.

Privatisations inevitably result in one or more of the following impacts: reduced/inferior services; higher costs; reductions in workers’ rights, pay and conditions; fewer and more insecure jobs; monopoly practices; increased inequalities; and the diminished capacity of government to respond to emergencies and changing societal/economic need.

Workers, their families, the disadvantaged, the young and the elderly, those outside metropolitan areas and South Australian businesses all suffer from privatisations.

In submissions to the Committee the South Australian Council of Social Services has chronicled the ways in which privatisation increases inequality.

Unions have made persuasive, detailed submissions that address the Committee’s terms of reference and expose the repeated failures of privatisation.

The Public Service International and Dexter Whitfield debunk the “ideology” of privatisation and provide a range of common-sense recommendations which the Committee should adopt to guide the approach to future privatisation proposals.

We attach a policy statement from the Council of SA Unions in which we declare our unanimous opposition to the privatisation of public services and assets.  The statement appends a range of recommendations that have already been put to the Select Committee which we endorse and adopt.

We are available to address the Select Committee in relation to our submission or any other matter relevant to your terms of reference.



Yours sincerely,

Dale Beasley



Attachment 1:  SA Unions Policy on Privatisation


15 September 2021

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