Making PPPs an election issue

Campaign against school privatisation
Maree O'Hallaran

In the lead up to the state election teachers across the state will campaign against the Labor government's flawed and dangerous plan to hand over nine public schools to a private consortium for thirty years.

Disastrous privatisation experiments in our schools and in the wider community should have been a warning to the State Labor government about this proposal. Cleaners in NSW schools now have an average of 10 minutes to clean a classroom, and there are reported instances where contractors refuse to properly maintain equipment.

"Once again a Labor-Liberal Coalition on issues like privatisation offers the electorate no real choice. The Greens continue to offer a strong, viable alternative to opponents of privatisation.

Instead New South Wales Labor is the first Australian government to experiment with the private financing of public schools. The Opposition's response has been to promise even faster privatisation of our schools. John Brogden believes that our public schools could be used as call-centres after 3:30 pm. Such appalling ignorance of how our schools operate could only be matched by teachers calling for the chambers of Parliament House to become a multiplex cinema on non-sitting days.

Once again a Labor-Liberal Coalition on issues like privatisation offers the electorate no real choice. The Greens continue to offer a strong, viable alternative to opponents of privatisation.

In preparation for the government's decision this week, lobby kits were distributed to all schools containing detailed information about the Private Financing of Public Infrastructure scam.

The kit includes the following letter to politicians:

I/we oppose the Government's proposal to build nine schools using a private consortium to finance the infrastructure and transferring ownership to that consortium for 30 years.

The public ends up paying higher amounts in rent to the consortium than would be paid through government direct financing.

The only people to gain from these arrangements are banks and corporations providing maintenance and services. It is their 'foot in the door' to full privatisation.

The public loses because in the end they pay more rent than they would pay through direct financing. Furthermore, the public can no longer scrutinise public financial statements and are kept out of the decision-making process.

This erosion of democracy cannot be allowed to happen in New South Wales.

As part of the State Election campaign the Federation will organise a debate in Parliament House on the merits or otherwise of the private financing of public infrastructure.

It is lamentable that at a time when the state is the wealthiest it has ever been, the Labor government has abandoned its responsibility for the full provision of public education and its infrastructure.

Maree O'Halloran is President of the New South Wales Teachers Federation.

Also on the Evatt site:

NSW Labor caves in on PPPs

Do as we say, not as we do, by George Monbiot

Partnerships, privatisation & the public interest, by John Spoehr

PPPs & public schools, by the NSW Teachers Federation

Politics & the English Language, by George Orwell

'The bully's pulpit' & 'Sums starting to dig in', by Paul Krugman & John Quiggin

The trouble with PPPs: An un-holy alliance, by Christopher Sheil

The public good & public services: What role for the public sector? by David Hayward

There are other ways: PPPs & public policy, by Sharan Burrow

News of the world: PPPs are a disaster, By Kenneth Davidson

Public fraud initiative, by George Monbiot

PPPs: A policy in search of a rationale? Private finance and 'value for money' in Britain's public hospitals, by Allyson M Pollock, Jean Shaoul & Neil Vickers

PPPs: Beneath the rhetoric, by John Quiggin & Christopher Sheil


Suggested citation
O'Hallaran, Maree, 'Making PPPs an election issue', Evatt Journal, Vol. 2, No. 8, December 2002.<>