The ACT government will explore the possibility of on-site counselling services for corrections officers at Canberra's jail, after the government agreed to an opposition motion.
Opposition corrections spokeswoman Elizabeth Kikkert, who moved the motion, said officers at the Alexander Maconochie Centre had told her on-site counselling would be a valuable resource.
"The service would go a long way towards maintaining the mental wellbeing of employees who work in a high-stress and dangerous environment," Mrs Kikkert said.
"Working at the prison involves a unique kind of pressure and stress, and when something goes wrong the government has a duty of care.
Surprisingly, Mrs Kikkert worked with Corrections Minister Mick Gentleman prior to the introduction of the motion. It came just days after Mrs Kikkert moved an unsuccessful no-confidence motion on Mr Gentleman over issues in corrective services.
"I appreciate Mrs Kikkert's efforts in working with my office in relation to the motion and being able to achieve a consensus," Mr Gentleman told the Assembly.
"A consensus that will ensure we can continue supporting the health and well-being of corrections officers and staff right across ACT Corrective Services.
"Recent events have highlighted the need to talk to corrections officers about what extra support they need and explore which options are going to be best to help them."
MORE A.C.T. POLITICS NEWS:
- Canberra Liberals propose tougher bail laws people who assault front-line workers
- Zed Seselja calls for federal cash support for Covid-affected Canberra businesses
- Our Right to Decide: New territory rights bill excludes the ACT
- Call to ban routine strip searches on women in Canberra's prisons
- Civic 40km/h speed cameras make $5m in a month as ACT government defends rollout
Corrections officers have been under increasing pressure with understaffing issues leading to a dramatic increase in overtime hours.
"Corrections staff are regularly transporting detainees and dealing with dangerous situations such as entering detainee cells that may contain concealed weapons while unarmed, contributing to high levels of stress, anxiety and PTSD," Mrs Kikkert said.
"It's clear that staff are not feeling supported by the organisation."
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: