On Tuesday 23 May at the Airport West Service Centre in Melbourne, a Centrelink Team Leader was the victim of a serious attack while doing her job.

We send our thoughts to the staff member, her family, her colleagues, and all Services Australia employees who have been impacted by this.

Frontline public sector employees are frequently on the receiving end of aggression, assault, and anger.

The CPSU has long fought for increased security and safety mechanisms at Services Australia Centres across the country. In more recent times, the union has fought against security guard reductions, including at the Airport West Service Centre.

The CPSU believes that the Minister’s intervention on this matter is appropriate and welcomes the Federal Government’s announcement of a Security Risk Management Review for Services Australia.

It is critical that frontline public sector staff have the resources, security and WHS systems to protect them.

This review should be strongly informed by the experience and expertise of frontline employees and their union.

Quotes attributable to Melissa Donnelly, CPSU National Secretary:

“Our thoughts are with the Centrelink Team Leader, her loved ones and collegues, after the distressing attack that occurred earlier this week.

“This has no doubt had an impact on all Services Australia employees across the country this week, and left many concerned for their own safety.

“The CPSU has long fought for better protections for frontline staff who manage difficult situations daily.

“Prior to Tuesday’s attack there was already a Comcare investigation underway in regard to the Agency’s arbitrary decision to remove and reduce security guards, including at the Airport West service centre.

“It is appropriate that the Minister has intervened and made these matters a priority.

“For this review to generate change and better protect frontline public sector employees, it must be informed by their voices.

“The CPSU looks forward to working with the Minister to ensure that all workers feel safe and are protected at work.

Media contact: Tori McGregor 0429 000 620