Jail inquiry welcome news

THE news of a NSW Upper House inquiry into the closure of Grafton Jail made the day of two of its most bitter opponents.

Grafton Chamber of Commerce president Jeremy Challacombe and Clarence Valley Community Unions organiser Tony King were delighted at the prospect of some accountability for the decision makers.

Grafton Chamber of Commerce president Jeremy Challacombe said it was a pity this sort of community consultation did not occur before the decision to downsize Grafton Jail was made.

"If it means government will look more closely and consult with communities before they make these sort of decisions it will be a good thing," he said.

Mr Challacombe said the chamber will put together a submission for the inquiry and will be encouraging other people and groups to do so as well.

A spokesperson for the Clarence Valley Community Unions, Tony King, was delighted with the news there would be an inquiry.

"The real message is there should have been community consultation and an economic impact statement done before this decision was even made," Mr King said.

Mr King said it would be good if the inquiry could look into how a decision like this came to be made.

"There's got to be clear accountability as to why this decision was made," he said.

"We had the Prison Officers Union saying they could run the place better and cheaperm but there was no consultation or negotiation."

Mr King said community union will put together a submission for the inquiry.

"I would urge groups like the Aboriginal Legal Service and the Aboriginal Medical Service to put together submissions outlining the damage done to families and their community," he said.

"I would be asking why recommendations from the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody were ignored."

Topics:  clarence valley community, grafton chamber of commerce, grafton jail, jeremy challacombe, tony king



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