Thursday 20 April 2023

The CPSU/CSA holds serious concerns following another serious incident at Casuarina Unit 18 on Wednesday afternoon. This morning we understand that multiple people have had to be taken to hospital including 3 officers due to smoke inhalation and 1 officer with a suspected broken arm. We understand a nurse was assaulted and at least one detainee has also had to be taken to hospital.

This is now at least the third attack in which Youth Custodial Officers have been seriously assaulted or harmed at Unit 18 in the past 2 weeks.

“In the past two weeks alone, multiple Youth Custodial Officers working at Banksia Hill or Unit 18 have gone to work and left in an ambulance. Others have narrowly escaped serious physical injury. The effects of these traumatic incidents continue to compound with every incident that occurs,” says Melanie Bray, Branch Assistant Secretary of the CPSU/CSA. 

The continued threat to safety at Unit 18 is a dark shadow over the successful ballot of members, which accepted the Department’s offer for a hard-fought replacement agreement on Wednesday afternoon.

The new agreement includes a commitment to the Adaptive Operational and Staffing Dynamics for Banksia Hill Detention Centre, which sets a baseline of measures to begin addressing the serious workplace health and safety concerns held by members at the Centre. However, the adaptive regime does not currently apply to workers or incidents at Unit 18.

Melanie Bray said that whilst this was an important first step for workplace health and safety at Banksia Hill Detention Centre, the union still holds grave concerns for the welfare of members, particularly at this time at Casuarina Unit 18.

“Members have made significant wins for baseline safety measures over the past year and these incidents continue to highlight how incredibly unsafe these working environments are and how important it is to make safety a priority. We urge the Department of Justice to continue to work with our members to continue to develop and implement safe solutions. 

“Safety must be the first and last consideration at both youth custodial estates. However, our members are still telling us that when they speak up about safety concerns they are being met with resistance and that cannot continue. Our members will continue the fight for their safety and the safe running of these centres. 

“Whilst we recognise that these environments are incredibly complex with at times competing legal obligations, every single action must have workplace health and safety as the absolute priority. It cannot be a matter of foregoing safety to meet other requirements, the costs are too high to both children detained and our members, as the continuing events sadly demonstrate. Safety first, safety is the only way forward.”


  • The CPSU/CSA advocates for the workplace health and safety of around 200 Youth Custodial Officers at Western Australia’s youth custodial estates.
  • The CPSU/CSA covers 44,000 general public sector workers including child protection officers, youth custodial officers, park rangers, Perth Zoo veterinary scientists and dental technicians.