The safety of staff, prisoners and the community remains a top priority for the Tasmanian Liberal Government and I welcome today’s discussions I had with unions regarding our prison system.

These talks were constructive with a number of suggestions and matters raised that we are committed to addressing, including in relation to recruitment, staff safety and supports, and training.

While we have invested significantly in our prison system – with more than 200 extra Correctional Officers in our prison system since 2016, including 79 in 2020 alone – we know more needs to be done, and we are committed to doing it.

In addition to the two new recruit training courses planned this year, we will be embarking on an intensive recruitment drive nationally, targeting experienced Correctional Officers.

We also discussed a number of other pathways to encourage people towards a career in corrections, and I look forward to hearing back from the unions so we can progress these further. These solutions will need flexibility and collaboration, and I urge the unions to keep engaging with us on these.

We are recruiting and training Correctional Officers as fast as we can, and we simply won’t throw untrained staff onto the frontline and put their safety, and the safety of prisoners and the community, at risk. However, following discussions today, we will be implementing more solutions to attract and retain more staff to alleviate some of the current challenges.

I look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with the unions on these important issues into the future.

Elise Archer, Minister for Corrections