Centre prepares for troubled youth

CONSTRUCTION is set to start on an $8.25 million expansion of Acmena Juvenile Justice Centre in South Grafton, with building firm O'Donnell & Hanlon securing the $500,000 contract for early works, the NSW Minister for Juvenile Justice, Graham West, said yesterday.

O'Donnell & Hanlon, a Kempsey business, will start work immediately, the Minister said.

Mr West said the project was a boost to the local economy with sub-contractors to be engaged, as well as local suppliers.

“The project lays the foundation of the main works at the centre that will see construction start in July of 15 new beds and extra communal and teaching facilities,” Mr West said.

Early works at Acmena Juvenile Justice Centre include building a temporary secure fence, separating the centre's custodial area from the construction zone, and building a service road to provide all-weather access to the site for the workers.

After an exhaustive review of cost-effective options, it was determined that the offer from O'Donnell & Hanlon represented the best overall value, Mr West said.

“The early works set the foundation for the main project, which will see Acmena Juvenile Justice Centre increased from 30 beds to 45 by around August 2010,” he said.

“The additional beds will help address the increase of numbers of young people coming into custody and provide a safer environment for Juvenile Justice staff.”

Mr West said additional beds were being made available at juvenile centres around the State.

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