Grafton Gaol listed for privatisation
Leaked documents have confirmed Grafton Gaol heads the list of prisons the NSW Government has been advised to privatise – which would threaten dozens of local jobs and the local economy, Country Labor candidate for Clarence Peter Ellem said today.
"Today, the O'Farrell Government's secret prison hit list has been revealed and Grafton Gaol is, as feared, listed as a prime candidate for privatisation,” Mr Ellem said.
"This report, produced by KPMG for NSW Treasury, is currently being circulated around the O’Farrell-Stoner Government for consideration.
“The same recommendation was put to the former Government who ruled it out immediately, however the O’Farrell-Stoner Government has flagged further prison privatisations in its 2011/12 Budget papers.
"At last month's Budget estimates, Attorney-General Greg Smith refused to rule out future privatisation of prisons around NSW and now we know Grafton is at the top of the list.
“I am very concerned the O’Farrell-Stoner Government down in Sydney is going to try to privatise Grafton gaol, which would threaten dozens of local jobs.
“We have already lost 13 jobs from Grafton Gaol which has cut $1.3 million out of the Grafton local economy. This was a huge kick in the guts, given that Barry O'Farrell and Andrew Stoner said nothing about this plans before the election.
“If the O’Farrell-Stoner Government goes ahead with privatisation plans for Grafton Gaol it would have a devastating impact on the local economy and local jobs.
“The O’Farrell-Stoner Government has already point blank refused to stop the slashing of 13 jobs at Grafton Gaol, which is a major local employer.
“I’m calling on the Nationals to give an iron-clad guarantee Grafton gaol will not be closed or privatised and to put a stop to the 13 planned job cuts at the gaol.
“I’m also calling on the O’Farrell-Stoner Government to quarantine local Clarence jobs from further public sector job cuts to protect our regional economy.
“This by-election is an opportunity to send a message to the Nationals that our community won’t be taken for granted. We will not accept the Nationals cutting jobs and hurting our local economy because they aren’t standing up to the Liberals down in Sydney.”