The Labor-Greens Government is failing to ensure Correctional Officers are receiving the mandatory training outlined in their enterprise agreement.
It was revealed by the Minister for Corrections in response to a question on notice that in 2020, 181 Corrections Officers were unable to complete their training in use of force, up from 53 in 2018; 81 did not complete training for CPR, up from 30 in 2018; 147 did not complete training for fire awareness, up from 90 in 2018.
Shadow Minister for Corrections Elizabeth Kikkert said the high number of officers not receiving training in fire awareness is consistent with the findings of a staff survey conducted by the Inspector of Correctional Services in his report on the November 2020 riot.
“The survey found high numbers of staff felt inadequately trained in emergency situations,” said Mrs Kikkert.
“Over 76 per cent of staff reported they had not participated in a training exercise, live or desktop, for incidents such as detainees refusing to enter cells, riots and fire situations. Over 70 per cent also stated that they felt their training was ineffective in preparing them to respond to the incident.
“The November 2020 riot demonstrates the need for the government to stop dragging their feet on delivering the mandatory training.
“The Correctional Officers Enterprise Agreement of 2018-2021 states that there will be mandatory training days for Corrections Officers, who are required to maintain their competence in CPR, fire awareness, fire drills and use of force.
“This is unacceptable and irresponsible for the ACT government to not live up to its agreement and I call on the minister to rectify the poor treatment of Corrections Officers immediately.
“The government is lucky to have had such professional Corrections Officers who, despite being unclear on their instructions during emergencies, were able to adapt and contain the riot so effectively.”
According to the Minister for Corrections, staffing constraints have contributed to officers not receiving mandatory training.
“It was clear as far back as 2018 that understaffing was a problem at the AMC. The fact that understaffing is only now being addressed shows the disrespect that this government has for our Corrections Officers,” said Mrs kikkert.
“Our Corrections officers deserve much praise and it is my hope that the next Commissioner for ACTCS places the needs of the officers high on a list of priorities,” Mrs Kikkert concluded.