News

Mayor locked in Grafton jail battle

OPEN UP: Clarence Valley Mayor Richie Williamson and Grafton Jail assistant superintendent Damien Carter.
OPEN UP: Clarence Valley Mayor Richie Williamson and Grafton Jail assistant superintendent Damien Carter.

THE Clarence Valley community needs to show the NSW Government it is still angry about the downsizing of the Grafton Jail and the effect it has had on the region's economy.

Mayor Richie Williamson said the economic impact had played a part in him sending a missive to NSW Attorney-General Brad Hazzard, reminding him the jail was a viable option for dealing with the growth in prisoner numbers in the state.

The letter was sent to Mr Hazzard - almost coinciding with the second anniversary of the downsizing - with the backing of Clarence Valley Council, after Cr Williamson presented a Mayoral Minute to the meeting on Tuesday.

"I would encourage every-one to get in contact with the Attorney-General's office to remind him the Grafton Correctional Centre is important to our economy," the mayor said.

"Reopening the jail would be an investment in our economy and bring back the confidence those sort of economic benefits bring with them."

Cr Williamson quoted Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research figures from May that showed the state's prison population had reached a record 10,917 this year and was on track to top 12,500 by March next year.

Cr Williamson also reminded the Attorney-General of the views of Corrective Services Commissioner Peter Severin when addressing the Select Committee on the Closure or Downsizing of Corrective Services NSW Facilities last year.

He said Grafton remained a useful facility to house minimum security prisoners that could be reopened quickly at "little expenditure".

Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis would also like to keep up the pressure on the government.

He has also written to the Attorney-General, calling on him to restore the jail's operational capacity.

He said Grafton's tradition as a "jail town" was an advantage as the community would welcome the jail reopening.

"The community has tried to remain upbeat and move forward despite the impact this decision had on them on various levels," he said.

"I know they would join with me in applauding any decision to re-open the Grafton facility."

A spokeswoman for the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice said he was aware of both letters.

"In due course the minister will respond appropriately to the mayor's letter, which was only received yesterday," she said.

"The minister is aware of the interest expressed by local MP Chris Gulaptis and the council in the future of Grafton Correctional Centre.

"As correctional numbers vary, as they always do, Corrective Services NSW will consider the need for appropriate levels of bed numbers and prisons.

"In that process the local community's views will be factored in, but obviously there are a host of issues which come into decision-making about opening and closing prisons, including the varying demands, levels of security required etc."

Topics:  chris gulaptis, clarence valley council, grafton, grafton jail, richie williamson




Bizarre police station attack caught on CCTV

A Coast pensioner has been refused bail after being charged with drug trafficking.

TWO men refused bail after attack on police station

Foundation donates profit toward community garden initiative

The Village Garden Project will take over this space at Caroona Aged Care Hostel.

Doesn't take a village to build a garden, but it does make it easier

Shark bump was 'very similar to Mick Fanning incident'

Curran See and Harris Lake, both 18, were waiting for a set at Sharpes Beach on Tuesday when they were both attacked by an aggressive white shark.

THREE surfers have been knocked off their boards by sharks

Latest deals and offers

Swimwear designer looking for love on The Bachelor

Noni Janur on her first day of filming.

The 25-year-old is one of 22 women vying for Richie Strahan’s heart

Three reasons your mind will be blown this week

Alan Dale and Jacki Weaver in a scene from the TV series Secret City.

THREE shows on Foxtel to make your mind boggle.

Elena wins MasterChef: “I’m ecstatic and eager to celebrate"

MasterChef Australia 2016 winner Elena Duggan, from Noosa.

NOOSA chefs survive marathon grand final dish by Heston Blumenthal.

Shannen Doherty shaves hair during cancer battle

Shannen Doherty has completely shaved off her hair

Brian McFadden makes daughters pay for own Christmas gifts

McFadden makes his daughters pay for half their presents

You can own this Queensland town for just $1

Yelarbon

Unprecedented auction of town's business centre with no reserve

Work starts on $15M Caloundra apartment building

Turning the first sod at the Aqua View Apartments site in Kings Beach are (from left) husband-and-wife developers Alex Yuan and Stella Sun with construction company Tomkins director Mike Tomkins and Councillor Tim Dwyer.

Developers excited about addition to Kings Beach skyline

Plans revealed for 1500-lot 'master-planned community'

Precinct will be bounded by Boundary St and Shoesmith Rd

Ecco Ripley sales run sparks prime release

MOVING IN: Sekisui House has announced the release of more residential blocks at Ecco Ripley.

Sekisui House is preparing to unveil more land at Ecco Ripley

Massive residential 9-storey high-rise hit by delays

An artist’s impression of the eight-storey-high apartment complex that Bernoth Holdings wants to build in South Toowoomba, next to the City Golf Club.

Developer struggles to get approved high-rise development started