A Centrelink worker who was stabbed by a customer plans to take legal action against the welfare agency for failing to protect her.
Joan Casser, 55, was on duty at Centrelink in Melbourne’s Airport West on Tuesday when a man stabbed her in the lower back – her kidney was too low.
Alleged attacker Eliza Chase, 34, was previously banned from Centrallink offices after another alleged assault on a female staff member.
Ms Cassar’s husband Andrew Giusti said the charity needed to tighten security across its Australian branch.
Joan Cassar (pictured), 55, was on duty at Centrelink at Melbourne Airport West on Tuesday when a man stabbed her in the lower back – narrowly missing her kidney.
Her husband Andrew Giusti said the man allegedly saw the knife in his wife Chase’s hand before he attacked her (pictured, police at the scene on Tuesday).
‘Centralink staff are at risk every day. If we don’t do something to change the current process, a worker could be killed,’ Mr Giusti told the Herald Sun.
‘He wouldn’t have been able to enter the building and he wouldn’t have been stabbed if access had been controlled.
‘We intend to pursue a legal claim and find out what options and compensation are available.’
The pair’s lawyer Alanah Goodwin, from Arnold Thomas and Baker, said the incident exposed the vulnerabilities and risks frontline workers face every day.
He added the policy failures of Services Australia, which provide social services such as Centrelink, had led to Ms Cassar’s scathing attack.
Mr Giusti said his wife allegedly saw the knife in Chase’s hand before the man attacked her.
She tried to prevent him from entering but other staff members let him in, he claimed.
Victoria Police Commissioner Graham Aston (pictured) says he will lead an urgent review of service center security following the brutal stabbing.
Mr Giusti said the charity needed to tighten security across its Australian branches (pictured, Centrelink at Airport West in Melbourne).
A source told Daily Mail Australia Ms Cassar asked Chase to leave the welfare agency on Tuesday morning before she returned at 1.30pm.
The man, who did not want to be identified, claimed Ms Cassar was stabbed shortly after Chase returned.
Ms Cassar was taken to the Royal Melbourne Hospital in a serious condition but was stable by Wednesday – although feeling ‘tired’ and ‘tired’.
Mr Giusti said his wife had been on pain medication and had been on her feet since the alleged incident.
Former Victoria Police Commissioner Graham Ashton said he would lead an urgent review of service center security after the brutal stabbing.
Public Services Minister Bill Shorten said Mr Ashton and his team would examine what could be done better to prevent and prevent future incidents.
‘This review will be carried out as a priority. The impact of this horrific incident on workers is evident. Some were too distressed to go back to frontline work today,” Mr Shorten told parliament on Wednesday afternoon.
‘I think it is important, and I mentioned it briefly to the shadow minister, that this Parliament expresses its support for all our public servants, especially the one who was assaulted yesterday.’
Meanwhile, the chargesheet revealed Chase was released into the community after another alleged rampage at a jobfind center in Geelong, south of Melbourne.
Police charged Chase with multiple counts of assault, including reckless endangerment, in the Dec. 17, 2020 incident.
The documents reveal that Chase was charged with alleged assault against two men, one of whom is believed to be an employee.
It is understood the employee suffered a broken collarbone in the alleged assault.
Chase, from Essendon, has been charged with grievous bodily harm with intent, recklessly grievous bodily harm, reckless conduct endangering life, common law assault and use and possession of a controlled weapon in the latest incident.
The court heard that Chase needs a full psychiatric review after being taken into custody.
A lawyer acting as a ‘friend of the court’ said Chase refused to speak to Victorian Legal Aid lawyers and that he was ‘delusional’.
‘I wasn’t interested in talking then,’ Chase said from jail in the courtroom.
Chase himself had expressed an interest in making a ‘personal’ bail application, but changed his mind after speaking with a lawyer.
He is due back in court next week on multiple offences.
A Services Australia staff member said there was no extra security at Centrelink branches which reopened on Wednesday despite the recent breach.
Services Australia general manager Hank Jongen said workers should be free to do their jobs without threats to their personal safety.
He added that Tuesday was a very sad day for the organization and said its immediate priority was to support all staff affected by the incident.
Anyone who witnessed the incident or has information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers.