The land that is destined to house the new jail at Lavadia in the Pillar Vallley.
The land that is destined to house the new jail at Lavadia in the Pillar Vallley. Adam Hourigan

Call for business interest for new jail

WITH the short-list for the construction of the new Grafton jail finalised, local contractors and suppliers are being requested to register their interest in becoming involved in the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the new facility.

GEO Consortium, Greater Futures Partnership and Northern Pathways are the three consortia who make up the short-listed proponents who are now in the Request for Proposal stage for the 1700 bed facility on a 195 hectare site at Lavadia.

While Infrastructure NSW isn't expected to appoint the successful consortium until midway through next year, all three consortia are calling for registrations of interest for sub-contractors and suppliers.

Grafton Chamber of Commerce executive member Mark Butler said at a recent chamber meeting all three short-listed consortia made a presentation on their plans were they to win the tender.

"One of the strong points that we've pushed has been local industry participation at both a construction level and after the jail opens, and how businesses and industry could best interact with to supply the jail," Mr Butler said.

"There was a very positive vibe at the meeting, and it gave people the opportunity to find out who each of the consortia are and what their plans are for local industry participation."

Mr Butler said the Clarence Valley economy will not only receive direct benefits from local businesses being involved in the construction of the new facility, but will also get indirect benefits over the long term.

"Businesses may not be directly involved in the supply directly to the jail, but there will be a definite flow on factor back through local businesses and industry," he said.

"Obviously there's both positive and negative aspects and there's always a bit of skepticism about major operations like this, but on the whole there is a very positive feeling about this process and the project coming into the area.

"It really means exciting times over the next short period of three to five years and there's the long term factor. There'll be a real positive from the huge injection of capital that the business community will have to embrace and move forward with after the initial high period of the construction phase.

"I think the important thing is to no let the opportunity slip by in the short term and take advantage of the opportunities now to build upon it for the long term."

For further information on the expressions of interest, contact the Grafton Chamber of Commerce.



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