New law changes that affect Corrections
Last week two important pieces of legislation were dealt with in Queensland Parliament. The first was the tabling of a Bill proposing significant amendments to the Public Service Act 2008, with important provisions about disciplinary processes, employment security, and other conditions. We'll be providing some more information about that soon as part of information to all members.
The second was the passage of the Corrective Services and Other Legislation Bill 2020. Here is a link to the legislation. The main purpose of this bill was to implement recommendations from Taskforce Flaxton, including recommendations on searches and alcohol and drug testing. More information on those changes are below.
Win on maximum sentences
The really positive aspect of the legislation is the significant win on maximum penalties for assaulting a CCO. Thanks to Maryborough MP, Bruce Saunders, a strong supporter of the staff at his local Centre, we started a Parliamentary Petition to increase the penalties for assault laws to be in line with the assault of police officers. The initial response to the 4,500 strong petition was that legislative change was not required. Not satisfied with that response delegates continued to lobby for change.
The Minister, Mark Ryan, did support our position and was instrumental in achieving this change. We have to acknowledge the key support of both Bruce Saunders and Minister Ryan in making this law change happen. This is a very significant win that as a union we have been pushing for a number of years. Congratulations and thanks to all the delegates and members who have made this happen.
Alcohol and Drug Testing
As part of the drafting consultation we met with Minister Mark Ryan, CCC Chair Alan MacSporran QC and Deputy Commissioner Koulouris and we were successful in ensuring the legislative provisions regarding Alcohol and Drug Testing reflect what is contained in the Police Service Administration Act 1990.
Consultation has already commenced around the detailed implementation of the Legislation.
Searches of CCOs
Some years ago as a union we were successful in stopping the practice of searches of CCOs on exiting a Centre. This was not because staff have anything to hide but because the law simply did not support the practice – it only allowed searches on entry. The new legislation has changed this situation.
As with testing, we are now already pressing with the Department the clear position that there should be reasonable grounds for a search; and it should apply to all staff, not just CCOs. Consultation is continuing here as well.
Stay tuned for an update to all union members in the near future about the broader legislative changes that affect the public service.
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