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Crime, Employment Relations

*** MEDIA ALERT: SHERIFFS WALK OFF JOB AT 8.30AM TOMORROW ***

PSA 2 mins read

What: Sheriffs down tools and hold protest

 

When: 8.30am

 

Where: Coffs Harbour Courthouse

 

Why: Sheriffs will walk off the job over staffing crisis

 

Contact: Michael Smart 0429 060 499

 

Press Release: 

 

Sheriffs walk off the job over staffing crisis and poor pay

 

Sheriffs in Coffs Harbour will stop work and protest outside Coffs Harbour courthouse at 8.30am tomorrow over a staffing crisis and poor pay.

 

This action, which will last two hours, will have a severe impact on courts’ ability to function.

 

This action will affect courthouses in Grafton, Maclean, Bellingen, and Macksville.

 

The Office of the Sheriff has difficulty recruiting and retaining Sheriffs due to the poor pay.

 

While Sheriffs’ duties have ballooned over the last decade their pay has failed to keep pace.

 

Sheriffs, (formally ‘Sworn uniformed Sheriff’s Officers’), both enforce the law and provide court security. 

 

Sheriffs are a crucial part of law enforcement. They enforce orders issued by NSW Local, District and Supreme Courts, the High Court, the Federal Court and Family Court.

 

Sheriffs enforce writs, serve warrants and Property Seizure Orders issued under the Fines Act 1996.

 

Their security duties involve maintaining the security of court complexes, many of which have airport-style perimeter security and scanning to ensure the safety of judges, magistrates, lawyers and the public. 

 

There are over 300 Sheriffs across the state attached to over 170 courthouses. Only 44 courthouses will be affected by tomorrow’s action.

 

Sheriffs have tried to play by the rules, said Stewart Little, General Secretary of the Public Service Association which represents Sheriffs, but they have just been ignored for over two years.

 

“In mid 2022 there was an agency restructure and the senior leadership of the Office of the Sheriff got a significant pay bump,” said Mr Little.

 

“In 2023 there was a review of Sheriffs’ pay but the report was never released under 'cabinet in confidence'.

 

‘Sheriffs waited patiently, and were told the matter would be resolved in the 2024 budget, but when it was delivered in mid June nothing happened, and now they’ve been fobbed off again with some other made up bureaucratic process, so Sheriff’s have just had enough.

 

“Sheriffs are highly trained in what is risky and stressful work.

 

“Sheriffs need a solid pay bump to reflect the dangerous work they do, when enforcing court orders they’ll be entering people’s properties wearing stab proof vests, carrying capsicum spray, batons and handcuffs. It's difficult work.

 

“Sheriffs put their lives on the line in courthouses to make sure judges, lawyers and members of the public are safe from crooks and criminals, yet they are paid the same as people with desk jobs and administration roles at the courthouse, it’s just not on,” said Mr Little.

 

Contact: Michael Smart 0429 060 499

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