Moves towards re-establishing prison capacity in Grafton show the strong community and union campaign has continued to be effective in making the State Government listen, Clarence Valley Community Unions said. 

In 2012 Clarence Valley Community Unions campaigned alongside community organisations, local businesses, and the Public Service Association representing Grafton gaol workers in a massive local campaign which was heard loud and clear in Sydney and shook the Government at the time.

“O’Farrell and Stoner got it wrong in 2012 when they closed our gaol in the face of such community opposition.  This was acknowledged at the time by local state member Chris Gulaptis, the then federal MP Janelle Saffin along with the Mayor and local councillors,” spokesperson for Clarence Valley Community Unions Tony King said.

“It is a good sign that through their work with the Grafton community the State Government also now acknowledges this error.”

There is concern however over the proposal that the new facility be privately operated.

“The preference should be for a publicly run gaol, starting with the reopening of the capacity in the existing facility at Grafton.  200 beds in Grafton gaol can be made available right now.”

“We want any newly built facility to be publicly owned and run.  It is not desirable or appropriate for parts of the justice system to be outsourced to private companies.”

“The community will continue to campaign for the existing Grafton gaol to be reopened and for it to be publicly owned and operated” Mr King said.

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