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The first sod is turned for new Grafton prison

L-R: CEO of Serco Mark Irwin, Minister for Planning Anthony Rogers, Assistant Commissioner of Corrective Services NSW Luke Grant, Deputy Premier John Barilaro, Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis & Minister for Corrections David Elliot. Image: Contributed
Minister for Corrections David Elliott on Monday turned the first sod at the site of the new Grafton Correctional Centre at Lavidia, about 12.5km from Grafton. The 1700-bed facility will be Australia’s largest prison and, the NSW Government says, will inject more than $560 million into the local economy and create 1,100 jobs during construction and 600 permanent jobs once operational. Deputy Premier John Barilaro, Minister for Planning Anthony Roberts, Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis, Corrective Services NSW Acting Commissioner Luke Grant, and members of the Northern Pathways consortium attended the event. “This state of the art facility will not only accommodate more inmates, it will also offer a greater focus on rehabilitation, without compromising safety and security,” said Mr Elliott, who praised Mr Gulaptis for “tirelessly campaigning for this project”. Mr Barilaro said the prison was a part of the “government’s commitment to stimulate jobs and growth in regional NSW, ensuring every community receives its fair share of our strong economy”. Mr Gulaptis said many construction materials and resources would be sourced from the area and training provided to up-skill local people. Mr Roberts said the prison is being built and run through a public private partnership with the Northern Pathways consortium, which will design, construct, operate and maintain the new Grafton Correctional Centre, on behalf of the NSW Government, for the next 20 years. The consortium is comprised of British outsourcing company Serco, British investor and manager of infrastructure projects John Laing, John Holland (wholly owned by China Communications Construction Company) and self described “Australasia’s leading corporate adviser” Macquarie Capital.