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LIVE: Grafton Jail Rally

Some of the large crowd who attended the Save The Jail rally at Memorial Park
Some of the large crowd who attended the Save The Jail rally at Memorial Park

Update: Click on the embedded video to see our journalists talk to some of hte people who attended the rally, about why they were there and why it was important for the town to support the cause.

Tony King is summing up.

He said due to the success of this concept, Clarence Valley Community Unions, it will be rolled out across the state.

He confirmed Andrew Fraser is in the crowd.

There will be a meeting with the correctional officers after the rally at the jail.

He said they need an economic impact statement from the government before it continues with the downsizing.

 

"Push the pause button," is the message.

 

12.50: Unions NSW secretary is now speaking, he's the last speaker.

He said he's been to many protests but not one where he was wearing the collar and tie and the local member is the one wearing the union tshirt.

The fact we're all here shows this dispute isn't union, political, industrial ....it's a community one.

"This is simply about jobs for community and ensuring Grafton can remain viable."

12.49: Matt Bindley talks about how the politicians compared the decision on the jail to a bad decision in the State of Origin.

He said he felt "stabbed" when they said that.

 

12.41: Shane O'Brien from PSA is speaking. He was on the picket line all weekend.

"Shameful" is how he describes the actions of Sunday where a truck bulldozed through the picket line.

"Mr Stoner needs to make a decision about what the National Party stands for," he said.

"The question now is where does Andrew Stoner see the National Party..are they simply a wing of the North Shore Liberals.

"Where are the other National members? Where is Andrew Fraser? Where is Don Page? Thomas George ...their electorates could be next.

"We have trucks coming up...tonight or tomorrow morning we'll be faced with the prospects of what we faced on Sunday....

"I have a question for all of you now.

"We know the trucks are coming, we know the government will take the view it makes more sense to run over a community than...

"Do you believe you've done enough...or do you believe that it's now more than ever the time to fight and the time to fight hard."

He's meet with a huge cry of support.

"The picket line is still in place. the choice for the government to listen, pause and negotiate or turn its forces on its community."

He said the PSA is here until the end and asked everyone here to join them at the picket line from now until the government listens.

12.40: Jeremy Challacombe is now speaking.

"This is the Clarence Valley this is our home and we're going to stick by it.

"I'd like to read you a statement out of Hansard.... "

Hansard quote by Jeremy Challacombe   http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/parlment/hansart.nsf/V3Key/LA20070531004?open&refNavID=undefined

He quotes a bill which says an impact statement must be produced for decisions such as this made outside the city. The bill was written my Andrew Stoner. Jeremy calls on him to stand up for what he's written. The applause from the crowd gives goosebumps.

12.35: What a difference a week makes. Chris Gulaptis local member was jeered last week, today he was cheered when he revealed his Save our Gaol Save our Town tshirt. He said the Premier knows where he stands and that will be on the picket line.

"This is what you elected me for to stand up or stand aside."

12.30: Mayor Richie Williamson is saying the fight is not over. The trucks are on the way to the Clarence.

"This is all about our city's future and what we are made up of.

"This is in our DNA....we have a connection with the jail.

"We are not going to let this go lightly. Our resolve is absolutely strong.

"I was part of the delegation that met with Deputy Premier last Friday and unfortunately I came home with a message I was not satisfied with ...

"On Saturday...you people turned out and I thank you very much for that

"Mr Premier we want the pause button hit."

He's calling for as many people as possible to join us possibly tonight and definitely tomorrow.

"Thank you for uniting as a city that has pride not only as a jail but as a community...i look forward to standing on the picket line tonight, the day after and the day after."

 

Sharryn Usher has said the trucks will be back here today or tomorrow but she has no doubt the Clarence Valley will meet that challenge yet again.

"Corrective service expected the moving of the criminals to take five hours..four days later and they're still there.

"We are the people of the Clarence Valley, we have a voice and we are determined to stay strong," Sharryn said.

Mayor Richie Williamson is about to speak.

 

12.25 Sharryn Usher is now speaking and has acknowledged the Aboriginal land on which we stand and thanked the community for its support.

She's talking about the extensive media coverage across the state.

"you the people of the Clarence Valley have inspired a nation," she said.

"From the time we made the call, we saw the doors open and the people stream out.

"When the call went out when we heard that the trucks were coming...hundreds and hundreds of people rallied..."

12.20 Tony King is speaking. He said this rally will be shorter than last Thursday's event.

"The amount of people who have helped with that picket line has been unbelievable," he said, talking about the "community picket" at the jail since Saturday. He's greeted with resounding applause and cheers.

He is saying today is all about calling on Andrew Stoner to stand up for our town.

12.20: from the banks of the Clarence River we can hear the piper playing the Call to Arms. The crowd is clapping.

12.15: We're just waiting on the Grafton Chamber of Commerce to arrive. There's a bagpiper leading them down the main street.

12.07: People are gathering in Memorial Park. A boat is on the Clarence behind the speakers with a big sign saying "Barry Grafton is in NSW."

IN JUST over an hour masses will gather in Grafton's Memorial Park to rally against the downsizing of the Jail.

Protestors will be holding the fort at the picket line while hundreds, and hopefully thousands, join together to fight the potential loss of more than 100 jobs and the knock on effect on the community.

The Daily Examiner will be on scene so visit us here for a rolling news update as it happens.

UPDATE 11.44pm: Andrew Fraser has been spotted in Grafton. He's told our reporter Tim Howard he had a few things to do in town and hadn't come specifically for the rally, but that he'll attend all the same.

Topics:  grafton jail, rally


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