In response to the key point that “greater competition, contestability and informed user choice could improve outcomes in many, but not all, human services”, UnitingCare Australia reiterates the key observations presented in our original submission:
- The consumer’s wellbeing and protection are at the forefront of all thinking, planning and delivery.
- Close external monitoring must be built-in to ensure consumers are not being short-changed or abused in a competitive market.
- All reforms must concurrently consider the interactions between competition, contestability and user choice as related, but distinct, characteristics of the market place.
- Consumers must be educated about how to make the choice(s) that best suits their needs.
- Consumers are entitled to receive the service(s) and benefits for which they have paid, as is the case in any other sound market based system.
- Cooperation and collaboration between providers that directly benefits consumers is to be encouraged.
- No consumer with an incapacity to pay or reduced capacity to pay for services will be disadvantaged. No consumer will be disadvantaged because of the introduction of a market based model. No consumer will be disadvantaged in accessing services due to their location or situation.
- UnitingCare Australia acknowledges that the government and not-for-profit sector need to form partnerships to ensure no consumer is disadvantaged in their access to services in areas of market failure.
- The long term success of a Consumer Directed Care (CDC) model is heavily reliant on the existence of a dedicated and well trained workforce. Therefore savings in areas that will impact on the quality of care, for example staff training, are to be avoided.