Reiterating our earlier submissions, we maintain the importance of understanding the difference between informed choice and empowered choice; the majority of community and family service and remote area clients are not empowered consumers - they are seeking to access these services because of market failure or lack of capability, they are not financially independent or highly mobile and they cannot shop outside the borders of their local market. Increased competition and user choice may not necessarily deliver benefits to these clients.
UnitingCare Australia also emphasises the fact that community and family and remote services are not homogenous. To ensure increased competition to benefit clients, providers and government there is much work to be done to understand the different service streams and delivery environments. We believe that this foundational work needs to take place, not least to agree what role Government will maintain in a human services market place, before increasing competition.