Friday 17 January, 2020 is National Corrections Day, a fantastic opportunity for us all to recognise the work we do on a daily basis. The POVB Executive knows the hard work, dedication and the dangers the POVB members face on a day-to-day basis.
We are proud of the work our members do and we are proud of the work our delegates do in ensuring collective and individual issues are met.
The POVB membership has faced some of its toughest times over the past two years, with benchmarking, closures, restructures, new processes, change in inmates’ behaviours with the increase in mental health and ice use and a rise in assaults.
With these changes, we need delegates addressing staff concerns collectively and individually. We need delegates who will raise these concerns to management and be a voice for members.
At the Delegates to Management meeting the delegates agreed to present awards on National Corrections Day.
This year we would like to congratulate Elizabeth and Graeme Reid of South Coast Correctional Centre for Outstanding Achievement Award for a Delegate or Member and Mark of Metropolitan Reception and Remand Centre for the Delegate of the year award.
Graeme and Elizabeth Reid
Liz Reid (Clune) started at Silverwater Women’s Correctional Centre, known then as Mulawa Correctional Centre, in October 2000. She then started in Goulburn Correctional Centre in April 2001 and then transferred to South Coast Correctional Centre in November 2010.
Graeme Reid started his career at St Heliers Correctional Centre in July, 1999. He then went to Broken Hill in January, 2001 until April 2004 then back to St Heliers until November, 2009. Graeme then moved to Goulburn CC in November, 2009 to be with Liz and moved to South Coast Correctional in November 2010 when it first opened.
Graeme and Liz have always been active delegates wherever they worked. Their relationship will go down in PSA/POVB history as one off the best union partnerships. The union bought them together and they make a formidable team working tirelessly for the membership and the centres they work in.
Both Graeme and Liz took an active role in representing Prison Officers in the ‘Stop the Cell Off’ campaign to stop privatisation of Cessnock Correctional Centre, Parklea Correctional Centre and Court Escort Security.
They travelled the countryside speaking to community groups and politicians. At no time did either of them back down from their convictions and they were able to articulate the reasons privatisation does not work in prisons.
At Bathurst community meeting they both kept everyone’s spirits up when it was cold and raining and we were not allowed access to politicians to raise our concerns.
Due to their actions and the actions of others we were able to stop Cessnock and Court Escort Security from going private. They both assisted in the Grafton Closure Campaign and offered tremendous support throughout that campaign to the POVB Executive and to the centre’s members.
Since working at South Coast Correctional Centre they have both been delegates in various positions over the years.
The Executive has never seen their passion for the membership wane, nor has their dedication and devotion for what is right for the membership diminished. They have performed their roles with compassion, conviction and a dogged determination to get the best and fairest result for their sub branch and its membership.
Some may say that Liz is hard and ferocious at times, some say Graeme wants to be Liz, but everyone says that their hearts are as big as Phar Lap’s, as has been proven recently.
Over the past two months the South Coast area has been horrifically affected by fires that have rampaged through towns and countryside. People have lost lives, lost their homes, been isolated and unable to leave with little or no food or necessities.
On 3 January, 2020 Liz and Graeme worked tirelessly coordinating donations of food, water, female products, nappies and baby formula to the people of Lake Conjola and Manyana. During this time, they also offered their house to the people effected. They did not do this to be recognised but because it is in their soul to help others and to do what they can. They are true Australians and true prison officers whose motto is always “look after everyone and get home safely”.
There was never a time we the POVB Executive have been more proud of what our members can do.
Mark started his career in July 2001 at the MRRC. He then transferred to Tamworth Correctional Centre in October, 2002 until September, 2003. After that Mark transferred to Parramatta Correctional Centre up until March, 2006. Then from March he went to back to the MRRC.
From our recollection, he has been a delegate at the MRRC for more than 13 years. Mark is also a Central Councillor for the PSA and takes an active role in getting best possible outcomes for the 38,000 members of the union. He represents the largest sub branch in the POVB and one of the hardest centres with the most incidents. The MRRC has more than 300 members and Mark looks after their every need and gives them sound and honest advice.
Mark is nothing but committed and determined to represent his membership with honesty, integrity and a conviction. His phone is never off to his members and he comes in on his own time for meetings at the centre or in at Henry Dean.
The support, compassion and dedication he showed the members during the criminal matter of the nine staff members at MRRC was nothing short of amazing. He still continues to represent the members, he attended and attends all workers’ compensation, disciplinary, legal and PSA meetings, mostly in his own time.
When benchmarking was introduced we went through such an arduous process in so many centres. The POVB Executive will admit to having concerns about how the process will happen at the MRRC and it implementation.
Our concerns did not eventuate and this is largely responsible to Mark and his dogged determination to make sure he was across all changes and he supported all his membership to work through these changes.
Mark never stops working for his members and never stops communicating with the POVB Executive to get the best out for his members. He speaks for all members of PSA at Central Council meetings and is active in campaigns, his communication with management is always to get the best possible results.
Whilst on holidays Mark still is active in communicating with his members, other delegates and the POVB Executive. He lives and breathes his membership and he lives and breathes POVB. His efforts help the POVB Executive in their role and he makes our jobs easier. No-one works harder that Mark Hutchinson and for that we thank him and we know that the membership of the MRRC thank him also.