The ASU has been notified that cohealth is proposing changes to the Needle Syringe Program, which will result in a significant reduction in the service being provided.

Part of the rationale for the reduction in services is the disproportionate use of casual staff resulting in a budget deficit. Management at cohealth has been aware of the overuse of casual staff for several years.

At various points in the last two to three years, ASU members have made multiple requests to convert their casual contracts to permanent contracts, which is a workplace right.

cohealth neglected to convert any of these casuals to permanent employment which has now resulted in this budget deficit.

ASU members have patiently been awaiting new contracts, only to now find out that not only would there not be a straight conversion to permanent contracts. They are now being threatened with cutbacks and will have to compete within themselves for the limited number of rostered hours.

These cuts are going to have a detrimental impact on the clients the NSP serves and in all likelihood will result in more harm to the community. The changes proposed will see a significant reduction in the operating hours of the NSL.

The delivery service also provides equipment to safely dispose of needles and pick up those needles from clients and venues. Without this service running, our members are concerned with the impact and cost of increased infections from blood born viruses in the community.

The ASU is currently in discussions with cohealth and participating in the consultation process. ASU members must stick together and support one another; collectively we are much stronger in resisting these ill-conceived and insensitive changes.

For further information please contact:
ASU Organiser Kerman Daruwalla | 0437 035 721 | kdaruwalla@asuvictas.com.au

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