Sentenced to work

THE Clarence Valley community has the chance to ensure some hard labour for law-breakers with the introduction of the Community Partnerships Program.

The program, which is due to commence later this year, run by the NSW Department of Corrective Services, encourages community organisations to find jobs for people serving Community Service Orders (CSO) instead of a jail term.

The state co-ordinator of the program, Les Fraser, said the program enabled communities to get jobs done that tended to fly under the radar.

“Every town has that over-grown walkway or some unsightly area that everyone complains about, but nothing ever gets done about it,” Mr Fraser said.

“With Community Partnerships, once that need is identified, something can be done to fix it.”

Mr Fraser said community groups such as Lions, Rotary, the SES, Men's Sheds and others were starting points for ideas.

“We've just talked with the SES and they've talked about getting sand bags filled and cleaning up the riverbanks,” he said.

“Once it gets going, it's amazing the ideas people come up with.

“In Nowra they repaired the high school bike shed and a Rotarian did the supervision.”

Mr Fraser said Community Partnerships was careful not to chase work that could have an impact on people's paid work.

The program also helps the court system, making available more CSO hours sentencing.

Mr Fraser said Community Partnerships would hold its first Clarence meeting in about a month.



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