Today, Friday 7 July 2017, marks the launch of “Defending Community Health”, a forthright publicity campaign, set to run in parallel with VAHPA’s ongoing bargaining strategy, to ensure that our collective message reaches all members, the media and the population at large.

“We were hoping that the Andrews’ government’s respect for workers and views on the importance of Community Health would mean we could strike a fair and reasonable deal in a timely manner,” said VAHPA Secretary, Craig McGregor.

“It is now abundantly clear that this is not going to happen,” continued McGregor, “VAHPA thrives on a challenge − we have set ourselves a few goals around the publicity and media arm of this thing. And make no mistake, people are going to sit up and take notice!”

The past five or so years have been difficult for Community Health. Name changes, failed mergers, successful mergers, demarcation disputes and radical shifts in funding arrangements are now de rigueur. In reality, we are witnessing a steady transformation in Community Health from local, egalitarian, collaborative and needs- based to competitive, choice-driven, highly-marketed cash-for-care. While not strictly Community Health, the Australian National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), stands tall, a beacon of neo-liberalism and a grand design that attempts to normalise the focus on private profits over the needs of the public and workers, so it can be further unleashed on the Victorian public in even more public and community services.

“VAHPA holds serious reservations about the direction primary and preventative care is taking. Regressive cash-for-care models are potential threats to patients, clients and workers alike,” exclaimed McGregor.

“It is worth noting that the campaign’s Viking theme evolved almost organically as a foil to the covert violence of the imposition of a neo-liberal structure on a healthcare provider. We had to reframe the discussion and to present it in a more appropriate manner.”

Members should be in touch with their delegates to get hold of materials, posters, badges, stickers etc.

Majority Support Determination – Petitions
By now all members and a large number of non-members (PS. it is time to join!) will have tracked down their local delegate and signed the petition in support of the Majority Support Determination. However, it is vital that every single employee has the opportunity to express their views on this important matter. Members need to take a lead role on this front.