Nurses get the boot

Grafton jail
Grafton jail

THE news coming out of Grafton Jail keeps getting worse, with all 15 nursing staff offered redundancies yesterday.

A nurse, who cannot be identified, said nursing staff were not included in the figure of 92 cut from jail staff on Friday.

"They mentioned the nurses at Friday's meeting and were told that was a Justice Health problem," the woman said.

She said nurses met with Justice Health officials at 12.15pm yesterday, who offered redundancies for all 15 positions at the jail.

"They couldn't tell us how many staff would be needed at the jail, but it wouldn't be a lot," she said. "When they find out how many staff have accepted redundancies, then presumably they'll say how many positions they will offer."

She said the nurses were devastated.

"This has hit hard. A lot of these people have worked here for a long time doing a job many other people would not be prepared to do," she said. "This (redundancy) has been a threat for a long time, but instead of being given three months to make a decision, we've been given three weeks."

Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis said he did not know the exact number of nurses' jobs to be lost at the jail.

"I don't know the exact numbers, I haven't been given them," he said. "The only things I have been told have been estimates and numbers of beds."

Mr Gulaptis and the National Party hierarchy came under attack from a senior figure in the party.

The former vice-chairman of the NSW Nationals and current president of the Grafton Chamber of Commerce, Jeremy Challacombe, said Chris Gulaptis and the Nationals had let the city down.

"As far as I'm concerned it's Grafton first and politics second," he said. "I'm really disappointed and the chamber is really disappointed at the Nationals' failure to stand up for rural and regional centres.

"This is something I would expect to see Chris Gulaptis cross the floor on and tell the government he won't stand for what they're doing to his community," Mr Challacombe said.

He went further to say he would like to see party leader Andrew Stoner split from the Coalition if the government continues to ignore rural and regional areas of NSW.

"I know I will be at the rally on Thursday and will sign the petition against the job cuts," Mr Challacombe said.

A spokesperson for Clarence Valley Community Unions, which is organising Thursday's rally, said the venue has changed because Market Square is not ready aftere construction of a new stage.

He said the new venue is Memorial Park.

Topics:  grafton jail nurses

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