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Lockyer Valley Mayor attends Southern Queensland Correctional Centre high tea

Published: 18 Mar 2019

Southern Queensland Correctional Centre (SQCC) were proud to host their inaugural International Women’s Day high tea with special guests Lockyer Valley Regional Councillors Kathy McLean, Janice Holstein, and Mayor Tanya Milligan. 

SQCC Director Mark Walters said Serco has a rich history of supporting and empowering women at all levels of the organisation, and this function was an opportunity to celebrate the women working at the facility and also reinforce with the new female prisoners that they can strive to make their lives better.

“Our staff show enormous care to our women and I think that was clear at the high tea. It was very important to me that this being our first International Women’s Day in a women’s centre, that we marked the event with the degree of importance and sense of dignity it deserved,” he said.

Mayor Tanya Milligan gave an inspirational speech, sharing her personal story and proving that despite the challenges the women may face through their lives, they can make positive changes to improve their future.    

“Tanya really connected with the women and she demonstrated that with self-belief and determination the women could make significant and positive change in their lives,” said Mr Walters.

‘Rachel’, one of the women accommodated at SQCC, gave an extremely emotional speech about her offending, domestic violence, drug use, poverty, self-loathing and emotional eating. She spoke about how she was now getting her life back together and has lost 60kg in weight.

Mr Walters said, “We could not have asked for more inspirational speakers than Tanya and Rachel. They were both incredible, particularly Rachel who is not accustomed to public speaking and who shared with such honesty and raw emotion.”

Photo: Janice Holstein, Tanya Milligan and Mark Walters.

A number of Serco’s executive management team also took part in the event to see first-hand the effort that has gone in to supporting the new female cohort.

Serco People & Capability Director Liz Kavanagh, who attended the event said, "It is clear that the women appreciate the care that went in to the transition and the opportunities they now have as part of their individual reintegration pathways.”

“I was truly moved by 'Rachel’s' speech. Her journey hasn’t been easy, but her engagement in sharing her story has no doubt come through many hours of encouragement and support from our employees," Ms Kavanagh said.

At the high tea, Mayor Milligan was presented with a selection of wooden picture frames, which have been hand crafted by a group of prisoners through SQCC’s industries program. Mayor Milligan was impressed by prior work created by the women and invited them to craft new pieces that could be used as prizes at International Women’s Day celebrations for the local community.