Saturday, July 13, 2024

Ex-Mental Health Commissioner to lead youth detention centre reform

Former WA Mental Health Commissioner, Tim Marney, has been appointed to introduce a new model of care for young people at Banksia Hill Detention Centre.

Mr Marney (pictured) will join the Department of Justice to execute a comprehensive change management plan at Banksia Hill aimed at giving detainees the care and services they need, the WA Government said in a statement today.

In 2021, the Department commissioned management consultancy, Nous Group, to develop the new care model, which is expected to see an overhaul of Banksia Hill’s current practices.

Mr Marney led the development of the new operating philosophy and service model to guide how Banksia Hill functions.  

The Government says the model is founded on best practice in youth justice in Australia and overseas, focusing on rehabilitation and reducing reoffending behaviour through a trauma-informed, therapeutic approach, in turn enabling the safety of all staff.

“Tim Marney brings to this task a wealth of experience in delivering government, professional and mental health services,” said Corrective Services Minister, Bill Johnston.

“His skills in implementing major reform projects, change management, cultural change and service delivery as well as dealing with vulnerable groups mean he is ideally suited to tackling the challenges in youth detention.”

Banksia Hill Detention Centre (Photo: Facebook).

The model of care will benefit from $88 million in State Government funding of Banksia Hill announced last year that includes building a Crisis Care Unit, creation of an Aboriginal Services Unit and expansion of mental health and support services.  

“He will play a critical role in bedding down the new operating philosophy and service model at Banksia Hill that will deliver on the key, rehabilitative purpose of the centre,” said Minister Johnston.

“The model of care underpins the structural improvements that will make Banksia Hill safer for the young people and staff and include construction of a Crisis Care Unit.”   

Mr Marney was Western Australia’s Under Treasurer from 2004 to 2014 and then led the Mental Health Commission for five years.

He served on the board of Beyond Blue for nearly 12 years, is Chair of the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre and Richmond Wellbeing and is a board member of Reconciliation WA.

Mr Marney was most recently Chief Economist and Principal at Nous Group.

He said that in introducing the new model of care, the focus will be on affecting longer-term changes to provide security, safety, care and support for the young people and staff at Banksia Hill.

“The drivers of change will be the staff who are there on the ground every day. My role is about empowering people and giving them the tools, capabilities and competencies to successfully achieve their goals,” said Mr Marney.

“Importantly, I’ll also be spending quite a lot of time listening to staff, young people, families and stakeholders.

“This endeavour is far too important for me just to deliver a report and then walk away. I really wanted to be part of seeing it through.”

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