Today’s release of the report detailing the crisis at Banksia Hill Detention Centre and Unit 18 at Casuarina Prison reinforces long-held concerns raised by the CPSU/CSA over the past two years.
The report’s key findings see critical issues that the union has raised with the Department and Government on numerous occasions, formalised by the Inspector of Custodial Services. The unsafe environment, staff shortages, issues with attraction and retention, unsafe work practices, and an extreme impact on the general and mental health of staff and young people are key themes the union has made the Department fully aware of.
“The findings of the Inspector echo the distress calls that our members at Banksia Hill and Unit 18 have been raising for months if not years. That Banksia Hill and Unit 18 are unsafe and in ‘acute crisis’ is not news to our members, it has sadly become a daily experience of their working lives,” says Rikki Hendon, CPSU/CSA Branch Secretary.
“Our members have used every right and entitlement at their disposal, including industrial action, to try and make the Department understand the desperate need for action.
“Both facilities are in ruins. They are unsafe as workplaces and woefully ill-suited to providing a rehabilitative environment for young people.
"Our members work beyond the limits of what can be considered safe, physically or psychologically, because they care about the welfare and rehabilitation of the young people and their fellow workers, but this cannot go on.
“We are hopeful that this official report will spur the Department and Government into action. The welfare of our members and the young people at these Centres must become the number one priority for the new Minister and Premier.
“We implore them to understand the importance of hearing the voices of the workers at Banksia Hill, and their union representatives. The insights of staff are critical to responding to the crisis appropriately and finding a way forward.”