Serco representative Michael Page talks about the new Grafton Jail to the Grafton Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting in the Clocktower Hotel on Wednesday.
Serco representative Michael Page talks about the new Grafton Jail to the Grafton Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting in the Clocktower Hotel on Wednesday. Tim Howard

OUR SAY: New jail starts to shape up

THE ENTITY that has won the contract to build and run what will be Australia's largest prison just south of Grafton, is starting to think about what the finished product will look like.

Northern Pathways comprising Serco, John Laing, John Holland and Macquarie Capital won the contract and its building arm is in full swing preparing the site for construction.

But with little more than two years before the first of the 1700 prisoners start arriving, Serco, the British multi-national consortium member with experience running prisons around the globe, is well advanced with its plans.

Senior Daily Examiner editorial team members and Serco employees had a meet and greet this week and used the chance to talk about some of the issues they faced.

The good news for the Valley economy is Serco is looking to train and employ a large percentage of its jail staff locally.

It acknowledged Grafton as a jail town, but said staff from state-run prisons would not automatically get jobs at the new jail

The Serco team also had some interesting insight into how they had reduced the level of re-offending from 60 per cent to to 28 per cent at its jail in Western Australia.

Another promising sign was their willingness to discuss some of the problems Serco faced in other jails in Australia and overseas.

The DEX will be monitoring Serco's performance in the key areas now it has laid down some benchmarks.



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