Serco Australia was this morning advised that the Queensland Government would take back the operations of Southern Queensland Correctional Centre (SQCC). This is the prerogative of Governments.
However, the reasons for this decision, provided in the announcement, do not reflect the true picture of service at SQCC by Serco.
- Taskforce Flaxton did not make any adverse findings against Serco nor the operations at SQCC.
- Taskforce Flaxton refers to the 2016 findings of the Queensland Audit Office (QAO). The QAO’s headline conclusion was that: “The private provision of public services in the state's prison system is realising significant cost savings while providing a level of service commensurate with publicly run prisons.” The QAO stated that: “when compared against public prisons, the private operators' performance is comparable in almost all areas we examined, but Queensland Corrective Services monitors the performance of its private operators at a more detailed level than what it does for its public prisons.”
- Information provided to Taskforce Flaxton was that for 2017 the number of assaults at SQCC, when it was a male prison, were the second lowest rate across all prisons, private and publicly run in the state.
- In 2018, the total number of assaults on staff at SQCC, as a male and female facility, was six. None of these have been serious or resulted in significant injury.
- While the number of assaults on staff had increased significantly across all Queensland prisons since 2013, they have fallen at SQCC.
Serco Australia CEO Mark Irwin said:
“We have provided 11 years of outstanding service to the State of Queensland. We are very proud of our record, not only in managing SQCC, but introducing a number of innovations to reduce issues of overcrowding and to reduce reoffending in the community.
“I would like to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of our staff over the past 11 years. Most recently during the transition of SQCC from a male to female facility. This transition ensured female prisoners no longer had to sleep in over-crowded cells at Brisbane Women’s Correctional Centre, provided an operational framework sensitive to the needs of a female cohort and ensured that all prisoners in our care are treated with dignity. This successful transition is a testament to the commitment of our staff to make a positive difference in public service delivery.
Our staff now face considerable uncertainty and Serco will work with them and the Department to ensure their efforts are recognised.”
Serco will capably and professionally exit its contract at SQCC when it expires on 30 June 2019.
Media contact: Tim Evans, +61 409 389 358
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