National Corrections Day is where we celebrate and recognise the extraordinary work Corrections Staff do. We ensure inmates are securely and humanely incarcerated for their crimes and contribute to rehabilitation with our daily interaction within the Correctional environment.
We should be proud to celebrate the work we do as Prison Officers.
It is a challenging and often a difficult job, dealing with criminals who may be suffering from mental disorders or are violent and uncooperative. The work of Correctional Staff is rarely seen by the public and often goes unrecognised.
The POVB introduced awards for the first time on National Corrections Day last year, introducing the POVB Delegate of the Year and POVB Special Achievement Award. Following the success of those two awards, the POVB Management Committee has introduced the POVB Life Member awards recognising POVB Delegates or Members who have contributed more than 10 years of outstanding service to the POVB. There are two inaugural Life Member recipients in 2021, with a maximum of one recipient each year thereafter.
2020 POVB Delegate of the Year
Vicki Liehr Emu Plains CC
Vicki served as the POVB Chairperson at Emu Plains CC and was outstanding in the consultation process for the centre’s re-purposing reforms. Vicki often came in to meetings in her own time and continued assisting in the consultation process for Emu Plains after the centre transitioned to the new model and she had transferred to Dillwynia.
2020 POVB Special Achievement Award
Geoff Kelty Hunter CC
Geoff devoted much of his career as a POVB Delegate at Cessnock CC and Kariong CC. Last year Geoff, along with fellow Prison Officer Wayne Cole, paddled 500km from Walgett to Bourke to raise $12,000 for the Black Dog Institute, which works to combat depression.
POVB Life Members
Matt Bindley Mt Druitt Court Cells
Matt passed out as Prison Officer in 1993 and was posted to the Metropolitan Remand Centre at Long Bay. Matt worked many years at Parklea CC up until its privatisation, then John Morony CC, State Operations Group and now Mt Druitt Court Cells.
Matt was first elected as a POVB Delegate in 1998 at Parklea and is the current chairperson of the Metro Courts POVB sub-branch. He was first elected to the POVB State Executive in 2004 and was a member of the executive for nine years. He was elected POVB State Chairperson from 2007 to 2013.
There are numerous working conditions that were won for Prison Officers during the time Matt Bindley was State Chair. The fight during the Way Forward reforms was significant in maintaining safe staffing levels in Correctional Centres and we now have the protection of the Safe Staffing Award as a result of the subsequent IRC challenge.
Upon receiving his Life Membership, Matt said he had a great time over the years meeting so many POVB members across the state and is proud to have taken up the fight to ensure our conditions and safety are protected. He pushed for the abolition of Christmas Day visits in Correctional Centres and it is pleasing for him to know that more staff have the opportunity to spend time with their families on Christmas Day as a result.
Tony Howen Cessnock CC (Retired)
Tony, who commenced with CSNSW in 1990, retired from Correctives in 2018 with the rank of First Class. For the majority of that time, he was a POVB Delegate, serving as Secretary then long-term Chair. He was in the role of Chair when the decision to privatise the gaol was reversed.
He paved the way for casuals to be represented by the PSA and was at the forefront of the fights to save Kempsey, Dillynia and Wellington from privatisation. Tony was also instrumental in the formation of the POVB Legal Fund.
He served on the State POVB Executive as Country Vice Chair and Secretary and was a PSA Central Councillor.
During his time with the POVB, Tony supported countless individual members and always fought for policies that would benefit the Prison Officers of NSW.