Australia’s largest and most high-tech prison is one step closer to completion with the Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis and Corrective Services Commissioner NSW Peter Severin last Friday announcing the start of major construction work for the new 1700 bed prison on the outskirts of Grafton. Mr Gulaptis said the centre, which will be aptly named the Clarence Correctional Centre, would provide a much-needed economic boost to the Clarence Valley, with long term job and economic opportunities abundant. “Our community is already seeing the benefits from this project, and with the start of major construction kicking off there will be plenty more to come.” Corrective Services Commissioner Peter Severin said the state-of-the-art correctional facility would offer a greater focus on rehabilitation, without compromising safety and security. “As Australia’s largest prison, this facility will play an important role in reducing the rate of reoffending and making our communities safer” Mr Severin said. “The reality is the majority of inmates will one day be released, and it’s paramount they have a successful transition from prison back into the community. Dedicated learning and employment centres will give inmates access to vocational training and full employment, helping them to be job ready upon their release.” The new Correctional Centre is located 12.5 km southeast of Grafton. The centre will become the primary correctional facility for all correctional operations between the Queensland border in the north, Kempsey in the south-east and Tamworth in the south-west. The stage two planning application for the new prison was received in December last year. It covered design, construction and operation. Stage one early works started in June last year and with major construction now commenced, the prison is on track to be complete in mid-2020. The NSW Government has partnered with the Northern Pathways consortium, comprised of John Laing, John Holland, Serco and Macquarie Bank, to design, construct, operate and maintain the new Correctional Centre.