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Television Interview - Flashpoint WA

The Hon Bill Shorten MP

Review to protect front line staff

I am shocked, angered and saddened by yesterday’s serious incident involving the assault of a staff member at Services Australia’s Airport West Service Centre in Melbourne.

My thoughts are with the staff member who was seriously injured, their family, and the staff and customers who witnessed the incident. I know they are receiving excellent care, and the community joins with me in wishing them a speedy recovery.

This is a deeply unsettling time, not only for Services Australia but for every frontline public servant across Australia.

The incident was one of far too many where frontline workers have faced violence and aggression while doing their job – from Services Australia staff, to electorate officers to any government servant.

Services Australia staff choose this career to support Australians and we need to support them. Everybody should be able to return home safely from work every day.

That’s why today I’m announcing a Security Risk Management Review for Services Australia, to be led by former Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police, Graham Ashton AM APM.

The Terms of Reference will take into account previous strong security improvements but examine what we can do better to deter future incidents. We will do everything in our power to combat violence and aggression.

I visited the service centre earlier today to offer my support and to let staff know that their welfare is my priority.

I sincerely thank all who assisted for their swift support, particularly Services Australia staff who assisted their colleague and customers, and Victoria Police and ambulance services.

Services Australia Security Risk Management Review Terms of Reference:

Matters to be considered include:

  • Adequacy of the physical security measures.
  • Whether improvements need to be made to Managed Service Programs (MSPs).
  • The adequacy and operations of the state criminal laws to maximise protections of staff, customers and the public including but not limited to the use of penalties and restraining orders or alike.

In relation to the face-to-face service centres, the reviewer is asked to:

  1. Examine the security and procedural measures that provide a safe environment for the agency’s employees, customers and members of the public.
  2. Examine the effectiveness of the Work Health and Safety System, regarding the effectiveness of controls in respect of customer related violence.
  3. Examine the agency’s approach to detecting, responding and managing service delivery to customers who demonstrate threatening, aggressive and/or violent behaviours.
  4. Consult with staff and union representatives about the adequacy of arrangements to provide a safe and secure work environment.

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