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Jail downsize under scrutiny

Those braving the weather on the Grafton Jail picket line.
Those braving the weather on the Grafton Jail picket line. Jenna Cairney

A NSW Upper House inquiry will scrutinise the downsizing of the Grafton Jail as part of a broader inquiry investigating prison closures and restructures.

Labor Member of the Legislative Council Mick Veitch moved a motion to appoint a select committee on the issue yesterday and the motion was adopted.

The select committee will be chaired by Christian Democrat MLC Paul Green and a time frame for submissions is expected to be set down next week.

"The voices of the people of Grafton need to be heard," Mr Veitch said. "The Chamber of Commerce, the council and the people need to make submissions."

He said the inquiry would look at the consultation processes undertaken, the cost-benefit analysis of the decision, the cost of maintaining sites post closure and many other issues.

"It (Grafton) is not the sole focus of the inquiry but it will be a main focus … we need to find out what went on and ensure that something like that never happens again in NSW under any government."

Mr Veitch has been outspoken on the Grafton jail issue and has lodged preliminary GIPA (Government Information Public Access) requests to uncover how the decision to downsize the jail was made by the O'Farrell Government.

He said he had not proceeded with the requests due to the high cost quoted to him by GIPA to find the information.

"Much of the information uncovered in this inquiry will be the same as those asked for in the GIPA requests," Mr Veitch said.

Topics:  grafton jail, nsw upper


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