The budget for Corrections is grossly inadequate and must be challenged.
It does not address chronic staffing issues and puts savings before safety in the prison system.
Correctional Officers will attend budget estimates hearings today alongside their union United Voice, to witness the questioning of the Tasmanian Government’s woeful Corrective Services budget.
Jannette Armstrong, Tasmanian Branch Secretary of United Voice says, “The Hodgman Government failed Correctional Officers in the budget. The prison service is in crisis. Underfunding and under-resourcing continues to put staff and inmates at risk, and is causing significant psychological harm. The prison system cannot function without an increase in investment.
“Alongside the serious safety issues, Correctional Officers are fighting for fair pay rises alongside other public sector workers. Low wages for an unsafe job will continue to lead to experienced officers walking away from the job.
“Correctional Officers are the forgotten state service employees, working in a unique, demanding and risky environment. That’s why this is an issue of safety over savings. Officers will continue to challenge this budget, that’s why they’ll be attending estimates today. They need investment in staffing and training, and fair wages and conditions in order to alleviate the prison crisis.”
Correctional Officer Alex Freeman says, “We are working in a crisis every day. Only a decent investment in Correctional Officers can alleviate this problem. We need wages that will attract skilled people and retain experienced employees. Correctional Officers go to work every day for a base rate of $30 per hour, with the knowledge that they are at risk in a hazardous, violent environment.”