Custodial officers at Western Australia’s troubled Banksia Hill detention centre will get a 12 per cent pay rise to reflect the difficulties of working at the state’s youth facilities.
The WA justice department on Tuesday announced the annual base salary for ordinary officers at Banksia Hill and other youth detention centres would be between $79,156 and $84,977.
Base rates for unit managers will be from $87,712 to $92,057, while senior officers will pocket between $96,307 and $105,254.
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The changes, negotiated by the department and the public sector union, will be backdated to July 1 and follow a Banksia Hill staff walkout in March over “dangerous” conditions and poor pay.
“We’ve been able to implement a new salary structure that reflects the complex and challenging nature of the duties performed by youth custodial officers,” department director Adam Tomison said.
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Corrective Services Minister Mike Reynolds said there were challenges with managing and safeguarding detainees, which the pay rise reflected.
“In order for us to both attract and retain (officers), they need to be properly compensated for the essential services they provide to this challenging group of young people in detention,” he said.
CPSU/CSA branch secretary Rikki Hendon said the pay rise was a significant win for youth custodial officers, who had battled serious understaffing at WA’s detention centres.
“There is still work to be done, but this reclassification and (safety commitments) secured in April are two significant steps forward in addressing the ongoing crisis at Banksia Hill,” he said.
The safety of detention officers has been one of the issues highlighted at the Banksia Hill youth detention centre.
Banksia Hill has been plagued with problems, including lockdowns and allegations of excessive force. Credit: AAP
A guard suffered a suspected fractured skull after being hit by objects during a riot in February, while more officers were injured in separate incidents in April.
There have also been repeated claims of excessive force and sexual harassment against detainees, as well as ongoing lockdowns.
The state government in June announced corrections officers from adult facilities would bolster security at Banksia Hill, improving safety for staff and detainees.
The public sector union said it would fight to ensure workplace health and safety was at the core of the state’s youth detention centres.
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