THE partial closure of Grafton Jail brought back bitter memories to Democratic Labor Party stalwart Anthony Craig.
Mr Craig, who is the party's assistant state secretary was in Grafton to both look into the reason behind the decision to downgrade the jail and share his experiences.
"I lost my job as a nurse at the Kirkconnell Correctional Centre when the government closed it down," he said.
Mr Craig said there were a lot of similarities between the two decisions.
"One similarity I noticed was the National Party members in both electorates said the jails were not going to close and they knew nothing about the decision before it was made," he said.
"But up here was a lot different with jobs as people at Kirconnell could be transferred to Bathurst and Lithgow.
Mr Craig said decisions like these could open the way for a return to prominence for the DLP, a splinter group formed when the Labor Party split in the 1950s.
"We need to be tackling the Nationals over their failure to represent the interests of country people," he said.
"If they're not going to do that, they need to come clean and change their name to the Liberal Party."
One of the key planks of the DLP is to return public assets to the public.
"When you have power, water, police, fire brigades, ambulance and prison services in private control you can't be sure they're being run properly in the public interest," he said.
"The motivation is for profit and the interest of shareholders.
"The government has a quick grab for cash and the asset is run down because the companies don't maintain it properly."