Town labour for detainees

Mayor Richie Williamson said: "This is a good news story."
Mayor Richie Williamson said: "This is a good news story." Lynne Mowbray

DETAINEES from the Acmena Juvenile Detention Centre may soon be used as free labour to help clean up council property around the Clarence Valley.

The Department of Juvenile Justice and the Clarence Valley Council are negotiating a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that would allow low-risk detainees to work on council owned facilities that are currently not receiving maintenance.

The MOU was presented to the council's civil and corporate committee this week where it got what Mayor Richie Williamson described as a "big tick".

"This is a good news story," he said.

He said detainees might be used performing duties like maintaining tennis courts or mowing areas that were not currently maintained by council staff.

"They would get to feel some ownership of community facilities and get upskilled," he said.

He said they would not take jobs from council staff.

A Department of Juvenile Justice spokeswoman said it was still to be determined how many detainees might be involved, but they would all be considered low risk and would be supervised properly.

All school-aged detainees, she said, were required to attend school so those under the age of 17 would only be able to work from the end of school to about 6pm.

"There could be ongoing maintenance work, one-off projects or jobs done once a year," she said.

The issue will be considered by a meeting of the full council on Tuesday in Maclean.

Topics:  clarence valley labour

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