SA prisons could go into lockdown amid state budget protest



Posted

September 05, 2018 21:15:51

The Public Service Union is planning a mass rally that could send prisons around South Australia into lockdown, to protest against what it says is the State Government’s privatisation agenda.

Key points:

  • Mass rally planned for Monday could send SA prisons into lockdown
  • Hundreds expected to attend rally that will march from Adelaide Remand Centre to Parliament
  • Minister says all Remand Centre staff will be guaranteed jobs elsewhere in the corrections system

The action planned for Monday is a direct response to the Liberal Government’s first budget, which included plans to outsource the management of the Adelaide Remand Centre.

The Public Service Association’s Neville Kitchin said the Government did not consult with the union or its members before it made the announcement.

“Clearly this is the thin edge of the wedge. We are under no illusion now that the Government of the day has an agenda for future privatisation of a range of services,” he said.

Mr Kitchin said the union was planning to march from the Remand Centre to Parliament, and expected hundreds of members to attend the rally.

The move caused Corrections Minister Corey Wingard to hold a hasty press conference late on Wednesday, calling for the union to reconsider.

There is funding in the budget to build 310 new beds at the Yatala and Women’s Prisons, and Mr Wingard said any Remand Centre staff would be able to get jobs elsewhere in the corrections system.

“I went there yesterday after the budget was announced. I looked them in the eye and I said that your jobs are guaranteed. I can’t be any clearer than that,” he said.

Mr Wingard raised concerns that any staff walk-off or lockdown would create a risk in the prisons.

“My concern is, if they lockdown the prisons right across the state and there is an incident, heaven forbid someone gets hurt or there’s a riot, this will sit on the head of the PSA [Public Service Association],” he said.

Privatisation will ‘undermine the future’ of hospital system

The Government’s plan for the Remand Centre is not the only privatisation that has been suggested.

SA Pathology and medical imaging services may go the same way, if they cannot reign in their budgets.

That has caused concerns elsewhere in the public service, and in the medical sector.

“Our medical officers will not support privatisation of our health services,” SA Salaried Medical Officer Association’s Bernadette Mulholland said.

“It will undermine our training, it will undermine our research and it will undermine the future of our hospital system.”

Opposition Leader Peter Malinauskas said the Government was breaking an election promise, after Premier Steven Marshall said he did not have a “privatisation agenda”, during a pre-election debate.

“Steven Marshall made it crystal clear in the lead up to the election that he was not going to lead a privatisation agenda,” Mr Malinauskas said.

“Public hospitals, public health systems, should remain in public hands to deliver the service to the whole of our community.”

Treasurer Rob Lucas denied it was a broken promise, and said he told the Public Service Association he would consider outsourcing services.

“We said explicitly, we were prepared to consider outsourcing where it was in the public and taxpayer’s interest to do so,” Mr Lucas said.

The Treasurer also pointed out, Labor had outsourced a number of public services when it was in government, including the administration and management of the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

Topics:

prisons-and-punishment,

government-and-politics,

budget,

states-and-territories,

adelaide-5000,

sa



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