Serco’s rhetoric and reality in Australia vastly different

I’ve reported over the last months the very difficult situation for staff and refugees at Sydney’s Villawood detention centre due to federal government bungling and Serco mismanagement. The Australian reported my comments today about the latest uprising in Villawood. Welcome to Australia’s dysfunctional (and entirely avoidable) asylum seeker “crisis”.

In light of these troubles, it’s worth recalling some information that appeared in Serco News in 2010 (Volume 9). This is a publication touting news and views from around Serco’s Australia. Under the headline, “Villawood undergoes transformation”, the following story was published:

Villawood is undergoing a major transformation as part of a three month plan to improve the overall operation of the centre. Led by Nick Cameron from Serco’s UK operations, the team of six has been busy implementing changes at the site which is the largest immigration centre on the mainland. The improvements include better residential and client care, a review of operations and security, increased staff support and training, and more activities for clients. The team has also been working closely with Serco’s corporate communications staff to rebrand the facility. DIAC is already making positive comments about the changes.

“A program of cleaning and painting has commenced‚Ķ¬† and rebranding initiatives have been accelerated. Most staff now have their new uniforms which look really professional, we have reviewed health and safety issues, and improved staff communication and recognition”, said Nick.

“We have just awarded three staff with commendations for their vigilance in preventing the escape of clients from Villawood in the last three weeks. The professionalism of these colleagues is typical of the staff I have met in Villawood. It gives me great pleasure to recognise these officers for individual examples of excellent work.

“I want to thank all staff at Villawood for the way they have got behind the changes we are making and for their hard work. Villawood is their centre and I am pleased to see the pride they are taking in the improvements we are making. There is still a lot to do, but with all staff getting involved and feeling supported by the transformation team, I am sure we will succeed.”