CEO of Brisbane charity Choice, Passion, Life Rhys Kennedy.
CEO of Brisbane charity Choice, Passion, Life Rhys Kennedy.

The company taking over destitute FSG

BRISBANE group Choice, Passion, Life (CPL) will enter into an "independent partnership" to salvage the FSG Australia debacle.

It is not known how many of the 900 staff at FSG will be employed. However, CPL yesterday confirmed controversial FSG CEO Vicki Batten would not be among them.

The partnership means CPL, formerly the Cerebral Palsy League, will take on all of FSG's 1500 disability clients, and offer employment to "many" staff.

FSG sectors such as mental health, family, foster care and domestic violence services will be relocated by the Queensland Government.

CPL staff Elena Han, Carlee Hay and Lorraine Woods at a family fun day to celebrate 70 years. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
CPL staff Elena Han, Carlee Hay and Lorraine Woods at a family fun day to celebrate 70 years. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE

FSG's 900 employees yesterday received an email from Ms Batten stating the company had reached a Heads of Agreement with CPL.

Ms Batten said in the email: "I cannot guarantee that you will receive employment at CPL, but I feel confident that CPL will do everything they can to offer roles to as many DSE (direct service employees) as possible."

CPL has set up a phone number, email and FAQ website specifically for FSG employees.

One FAQ states: "Does my employment automatically transfer to CPL?". To which the answer is: "No. CPL will be in contact with relevant people and be making offers of employment to you. It is your decision to accept the offer."

Similarly, the question "Will I keep my job?" is answered with "Your employment with FSG will come to an end with the organisation going into administration from 30 June. CPL is currently reviewing resource requirements and will make offers to former employees of FSG as required."

Kate Engwerda and Chelsea Rowley at a family fun day to celebrate 70 years. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
Kate Engwerda and Chelsea Rowley at a family fun day to celebrate 70 years. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE

In a video address to FSG employees, CPL CEO Rhys Kennedy said employees should continue to work their rostered hours.

"CPL would like to work with all FSG DSE's (sic) and offer you roles at CPL, either the same or very similar to the roles you had/have at FSG.

"CPL will be in touch tomorrow with more information about this.

"Please keep turning up to your prearranged shifts with FSG this week to support your clients - they need you."

When asked yesterday by the Bulletin about Ms Batten's future in the partnership, Mr Kennedy said: "I do not see a role for FSG's CEO at CPL."

CPL has more than 70 years experience working with people with disabilities.

"It's important to remember that at the centre of this matter are people with disabilities," Mr Kennedy said.

"I would like to reassure FSG Australia customers - and the community - that our priority is ensuring that everyone will continue to receive their services and support by our amazing team here at CPL."

A current FSG employee, who did not want to be named, said CPL had a great reputation in the industry.

However, the email did not help ease concerns about the future.

Former State premier Campbell Newman with Gold Coast politician John-Paul Langbroek making an announcement regarding funding to assist disadvantaged students gain job skills at FSG Australia. Middle is Vicki Batten. Photo by Richard Gosling
Former State premier Campbell Newman with Gold Coast politician John-Paul Langbroek making an announcement regarding funding to assist disadvantaged students gain job skills at FSG Australia. Middle is Vicki Batten. Photo by Richard Gosling

Prior to this announcement, last Wednesday, FSG Australia's 900 employees were told the community service provider would enter voluntary administration as of June 30.

Workers remained in a state of limbo with speculation FSG would be merged or acquired by another company, but no guarantees of continued work.

On Friday, employees received an email confirming that services would continue and FSG had been "negotiating with a major service provider".

Last week, FSG's primary funder, the Queensland Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors led by Minister Carolee O'Rourke announced they would no longer speak publicly on the topic.

When asked if any investigations took place after the charity reported increasing losses three years running, they said: "The Department monitors quarterly and annual financial and service delivery reporting and raises issue of concern with funded providers as necessary."

It is unclear whether an investigation into FSG's financials will be carried out.