We have now learnt that the white paper will not come out until June – after May 31st when your APS membership fee is due for renewal. Clever isn’t it? They expect us to pay our fees before we know the outcome of the green paper’s proposal for a 3-tier (or is it a 4-tier?) system.
Although they have conducted member consultations about the proposals, they have not yet indicated there will be any changes to them. How can we trust they have taken on members’ concerns? At every session members have been expressing their concerns to the extent that at some meetings the facilitators restricted people to only talk about the positive aspects of the green paper.
We have not been given any indication that there will be modifications, such as to the restrictions on treating moderate clients, who make up 80% of psychologists’ caseloads. There is only a deafening silence.
History is not reassuring. The board’s response to concerns about the two-tier system has been to introduce a three-tier system that more severely disadvantages its members. Yet it is the board’s job to act in the best interest of its members or face contravening the Corporations Act 2001.
But there is a way that the 12,000 most disadvantaged members can find out what the White paper says before paying their fees. On May 31st, they can opt to pay their fees monthly or defer their membership.
If there is no change to the current proposals in the White paper, then members must consider their options. It will take at least 2,000 members to go onto a monthly payment or defer their membership to affect the bottom line and force the board to listen.
The APS can only keep the ear of government with the support of its members who are registered psychologists. Without them the APS becomes a minor organisation and loses its influence on the government.
The Green paper is a death warrant for registered psychologists. They will be
- Forced to work for less due to the lower rebate or to charge clients a higher gap fee
- Never be able to provide rebates to severe clients
- Never be able to provide equal rebates to moderate clients
- Never be able to use evidence based psychological therapies
- Seen as an inferior psychologist and receive fewer and fewer GP referrals