Sandhurst Centre workers concerned about 'rushed' tender process

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RELATED: Sandhurst staff call for certainty

ANGRY: Sandhurst Centre workers protest. Picture: JODIE DONNELLAN

ANGRY: Sandhurst Centre workers protest. Picture: JODIE DONNELLAN

SANDHURST Centre workers say the government's plans to advertise the service provider contract for the replacement facility in three weeks is "a joke".

Workers and Health and Community Services Union representatives met on Tuesday morning to discuss the tendering process.

They then protested outside the facility, chanting: "Fourteen months, three weeks contracting - what a joke!"

Union state secretary Lloyd Williams said the tender process was being rushed, at the expense of clients.

"This shotgun tender has nothing to do with care and everything to do with politics," he said.

"It takes longer to undergo a tender for a photocopier."

He said clients and workers had been given insufficient news about the replacement facility since the government announced it would close the Sandhurst Centre in May last year.

He said the government's plan to advertise the contract for the new care provider in three weeks time was hasty.

The Sandhurst Centre is one of two remaining government-run disability institutions in Victoria.

The government has committed $7.9 million to build five new accommodation homes for 25 residents, which would provide them with greater independence.

The tender process regards the service provider that would care for clients.

The union is concerned the new provider will offer lower paying, less qualified positions to staff the centre.

In a statement to the Bendigo Advertiser last month, Community Services Minister Mary Wooldridge confirmed the government was speeding up the tendering process by five months, but said this was a positive move.

"This is a positive step to give staff a clear idea of who will run the new facilities, and allow them to make long-term plans for themselves and their families," she said. 

"Based on the client planning that’s been undertaken we know the types of services that the residents and their families require."

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