Australasian Corrections Officer Day 2023

20th January 2023

Australasian Corrections Officer Day 2023


Today marks the fifth New Zealand ‘National Corrections Officer Day’, which is also recognised and celebrated across every Australian state and territory. It is an opportunity to recognise the tireless work and efforts of our frontline staff and those who work behind the scenes to reduce reoffending and to make the community safer.

We recognise and appreciate the work that our non-Custodial colleagues do every day, however this is a day for Corrections Officers. Our members, who work in both Public and Private prisons, deserve to have this day as their own and be acknowledged for the work that they do in pressurised, volatile, and increasingly violent and unsafe situations, managing unpredictable and increasingly violent prisoners.

Too often the work our members do is ignored or just not thought about by the wider New Zealand public, due to it happening behind the solid walls of the prisons they work in.
The ongoing and ever-increasing level of assaults on Corrections Officers is unacceptable and our workplace has become less safe, and whilst we totally support any initiative to reduce reoffending, this must start in Prisons, where it is an offence to assault a Corrections Officer, yet prosecutions rarely happen.

In the last year, and despite a reduced muster and a COVID world, we have again seen an increase in the level of assaults on Corrections Officers and this is not acceptable. As a union CANZ will continue to do whatever it takes to get Corrections to take this seriously and take some positive actions, not just host meetings and talk.

This year Corrections Officers and staff face an ongoing cost of living crisis, with no relief apparent. The wages that Corrections Officers receive does not address this. You are working in an ever increasingly violent and hostile environment, therefore the Department and this Government must address the inadequate levels of pay that you currently receive.

Being a Corrections Officer is a job that requires dedication, bravery, and commitment. Corrections Officers are the unsung heroes of the First Responder community. You are the firefighters, the ambulance staff, and the police inside a prison and quiet often all of those in one shift.

It is time for the Public and in particular the Government and all Politicians to get behind these issues of overcrowding, increasing violence and staff safety and do what it takes to provide a safe working environment for Corrections Officers.

Yours in Unity

Floyd du Plessis (National President), Paul Dennehy (National Vice President), Cliff Hughes (National Treasurer) and Mark Duncan (National Secretary)