Protesters in the Brisbane CBD today. Picture: Matthew Plant
Protesters in the Brisbane CBD today. Picture: Matthew Plant

Prison workers storm government HQ in protest

PROTESTERS have stormed the State Government's Executive Building following a large rally by employees airing safety concerns about Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre in Brisbane's west.

In the action about midday today, the demonstrators said they would not back down until Corrective Services Minister Mark Ryan sacked GEO, the private company running the jail.

Holding gruesome signs depicting "the blood" Mr Ryan "has on his hands", the crowd broke through into the foyer in a point of getting the minister to listen.

The union United Voice Queensland, which represents officers at the jail, said US-based GEO was putting lives at risk in order to win a State Government tender to continue running the facility.

"Hopefully the minister is listening, but I don't have much hope that he is," United Voice Queensland spokesman Damien Davie said.

"We are calling for GEO to be kicked out immediately... like what the Liberal Party did in NSW.

"If someone gets killed, the blood will be on his hands."

Mr Davie said the minister had no regard for the safety of the workers at Arthur Gorrie jail, otherwise something would have changed by now.

"We're going to ramp this up over the coming weeks - we won't stop until GEO is kicked out," he said

The union said yesterday they could not understand why Mr Ryan was sticking by GEO.

Employees have previously expressed concerns about overcrowding at the prison which has led to serious injuries against guards, and say GEO does not have an effective complaint-handling system or an investigative body that oversees it.

In a statement yesterday Mr Ryan said: "The safety of all custodial officers across Queensland is of paramount importance to me as minister.

"I am more than happy to meet representatives of our valued officers to discuss any concerns they may have."

Protesters at the Executive Building today. Picture: Matthew Plant
Protesters at the Executive Building today. Picture: Matthew Plant


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