Gulaptis: I stuffed up
THE NSW Government has hit the pause button on its plans to slash 107 jobs from Grafton Jail.
Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis, who had a Road to Damascus moment at Thursday's protest rally in Grafton, returned to the microphone to say he had word from Sydney the plan had been halted "for now".
Earlier Mr Gulaptis, who had been the target of angry criticism from other speakers, confessed to a crowd of more than 2000 people in Memorial Park, Grafton, that he had "stuffed up".
"I thought it was my job to defend the government's decision to the people," he said. "I was given a pup to sell."
But claims he knew nothing about the plans to cut jobs at the jail did not go down well. "If I lied, I would tell you that I lied," he said, responding to heckling.
Mr Gulaptis also signed the petition he will table in parliament calling on the government to back off from downsizing the jail.
His was one of more than 7000 signatures on the document. Organisers need 10,000 before it can be tabled in the NSW Parliament.
He also accepted a protesters' t-shirt and pulled it on over his head after loud urging from the crowd.
Mr Gulaptis told the rally he had convened a meeting in Sydney on Friday of the unions, the Corrective Services deputy commissioner, the Minister for Corrective Services, Mayor Richie Williamson and Chamber of Commerce president Jeremy Challacombe.
A rally organiser and spokeman for the Clarence Valley Community Union Tony King said Friday's meeting needed to come up with something constructive. "If not, we'll be back here on Tuesday and it will be bigger than today," he said.
Full coverage of the rally on pages 4-5 of Friday's Daily Examiner.