Wildcats champ shoots for incarcerated kids at Banksia Hill


Former Perth Wildcats vice-captain Greg Hire is bringing his highly successful basketball clinics and mental health workshops to the young people at Banksia Hill Detention Centre. Picture: Pixabay

Former National Basketball League champion Greg Hire is jumping onto Banksia Hill courts to pass on his wisdom and experience to the kids of the detention centre.

Hire has spoken publicly about his troubled upbringing. which included exposure to domestic violence, drug use and a lack of positive role models and is looking to share his experience with the kids at Banksia.

“The power of sport allows us to engage with the young people in here,” Hire said.

“Sport is inclusive, it eliminates all boundaries, so if I can impact their lives and make some difference then it’s an absolute no brainer to be involved.”

Hire started the charity ‘A Stitch in Time’ back in 2014 to create programs that aim to provide mental health and mentoring services with a focus on helping indigenous children.

Corrective Services commissioner Mike Reynolds has welcomed Hire’s involvement.

“We’re delighted to have someone of his calibre mentoring the young people at Banksia Hill,” Mr Reynolds said.

“Greg provides life lessons that I’m sure many of the young people will carry with them forever.”

The program follows a tumultuous year at the detention centre with riots last month.

Former WA premier Mark McGowan labelled the riot ‘a form of terrorism’.

“We need to actually hold people to account for what they do,” McGowan said.

“And the juveniles need to get the message, it’s not OK. It is not acceptable to engage in this sort of conduct.”

But the former premiers’ words were criticised at the Wiyi Yani U Thangani National Summit with the Commissioner for Children and Young People Jacqueline McGowan “extremely concerned” about the lack of care for the kids being held at Banksia Hill.

“The safety of the children is the number one priority. I urge the West Australian Government to immediately consider new models that include restorative justice approaches as an urgent priority, rather than the heavy-handed approach,” she said.

Hire who is a father of two said he believed that “negativity is easy to promote” and said he was trying to shine light on the good being done at the centre.

“It’s about promoting that there is some good work being done here, there’s some incredible staff who work exceptionally hard and I consistently promote that to remind people that there is actually plenty of good things happening in here,” he said.