Geoff Robins is well aware that Queensland Corrective Services doesn’t have a highly visible profile in the community, but he hopes that will change over time as the government organisation continues efforts to build its reputation.
On 26 January, the Weipa resident was awarded the Australian Corrections Medal as part of the national’s Australia Day honours.
“I’m actually speechless because I don’t feel deserving of it at all,” a humble Mr Robins said.
“We just had our National Corrections Day Awards in Brisbane and I felt there were certainly others who were much more deserving of (the medal).
“In the Corrections industry, the Australian Corrections Medal is our highest honour.”
While some might associate Corrections with prisons, there is much more to Queensland Corrective Services than looking after inmates.
“We (Community Corrections) are relatively unknown in the community but we are trying to change that,” Mr Robins said.
“Our top priority is community safety and there are so many opportunities within our organisation, especially in the Far North.”
Now in his 16th year with the public service, Mr Robins said a career with Corrections wasn’t on his radar until someone from QCS visited his class at James Cook University in Cairns.
“I studied psychology and was always fascinated by the criminal justice system,” he said.
“There wasn’t a lot known about community corrections … I took a criminology subject and someone from Queensland Corrective Services came along and it definitely caught my interest.”
While many graduates spend months looking for a career path, that wasn’t the case for Mr Robins, who finished university on a Friday and started work with QCS on the following Monday.
“I have never looked back … I have never thought about moving on,” he said.
Having started as a probation and parole officer at the Cairns Community Corrections district office in November 2008, Mr Robins gradually climbed the ladder.
Over the following three years, he held numerous roles at the district office including rural and remote case manager, assessment officer and probation and parole supervisor.
In 2011, he was named the acting district manager at the Innisfail Community Corrections district office and performed the supervisor and district manager roles across the Far Northern region.
In 2014, he moved to Cape York with his wife, Rose, to help establish Weipa’s first district office.
Mr Robins has a strong record of developing, implementing, and investing in local communities through place-based responses, including the Aurukun Justice Reintegration Project, which was developed locally in response to a substantial and prolonged period of significant unrest in Aurukun.
In his current role, Mr Robins is responsible for overseeing the management of hundreds of offenders who live across a dispersed geography.
His creative approach to recruitment has increased the visibility of Far North Queensland as a location of choice within community corrections.
“If you’re looking for a fascinating and rewarding career, give Queensland Corrective Services a chance,” Mr Robins said.