Changes ahead for Corrections, Police and Community Safety members

Posted October 8, 2013 by Together Queensland

In September the government announced a dramatic shake-up of Queensland's policing, community safety and emergency services agencies following the release of the long-awaited final report of the Police and Community Safety Review conducted by Mick Keelty.

Key recommendations of the report include:

  • Transferring Queensland Ambulance Service to Queensland Health
  • Transferring Queensland Corrective Services to Department of Justice and Attorney-General
  • Re-configuring areas of Department of Community Safety into a new Department of Fire and Emergency Services
  • Creating a Portfolio Business entity, headed up by a chief executive, to provide corporate support functions to Queensland Police Service and the Department of Fire and Emergency Services.
  • Creation of a new Inspector General, Emergency Management to co-ordinate emergency and disaster responses
  • Moving to a single government air wing
  • Making a number of functions - notably prison management but also others such as speed camera operation and wide-load escorts currently performed by police - subject to 'contestability'; that is, privatisation.

There will obviously be significant ramifications for members from these changes. Already concerns have been raised about the likely impacts on jobs, employment conditions, workloads, work locations and the quality of service that will be delivered to the public if important functions are privatised.

A potential outcome of the Keelty review is the wholesale privatisation of Queensland’s publicly owned correctional facilities, which would be one of the largest privatisations of public services in Australian history. Privatising prisons means increased safety risks, increased escape risks, more overcrowding and less accountability. It endangers local communities and diminishes our justice system. It means lower wages, reduced job security, and even worse rostering and safety arrangements for staff. Corrections members are encouraging all those who agree that you can’t put a price on safety to sign up to Working For Queenslanders to help spread the message publicly about the dangers of privatised prisons.

For Department of Community Safety and Queensland Police Service, union representatives have had productive meetings with both the Director-General of Department of Community Safety and the Queensland Police Commissioner to begin discussions of these concerns and the government's plan for implementing the changes. Union representatives made it very clear that union members should be involved in both the forthcoming implementation and ‘contestability’ processes and both chief executives agreed that there will be further engagement with Together as these progressed.

The first priority for implementation, in accordance with the Keelty recommendations, will be the machinery of government changes to move Queensland Ambulance to Health, and Corrections to JAG. Included in the MOG transfer will be a proportionate number of staff from corporate support areas. The remaining areas then will be configured into the Department of Fire and Emergency Services, following which work will begin in earnest to establish the Portfolio Business agency.

We will continue to keep members updated as new information becomes available. 

 


Authorised Alex Scott, Secretary, Together.
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