200 jobs for Grafton prison plus indirect benefits
GRAFTON'S new jail will directly employ more than 200 workers and create a wealth of indirect jobs, according to Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis.
The 600-bed jail is due to open before 2019 to help stop the NSW corrections system bursting at the seams.
The state's prison population reached a record high of 11,808 in September, a 14% increase on the same time last year.
Mr Gulaptis said plans to add another 114 beds to the existing Grafton jail would bring its number of inmates to more than 270 - the same size it was before it was downsized to a remand centre in 2012.
"This is great news for Grafton and the Clarence Valley as it brings jobs to the region and boosts the local economy with the additional spend from the increased employment and the affiliated services that are required to run the jail," he said.
"We know that jobs in regional NSW are difficult to find and this is a terrific shot in the arm for people looking for a job in the Clarence Valley."
Mr Gulaptis said bringing jobs to the region had been his main focus since his election in 2011.
"There is more good news for Grafton and the Clarence Valley with the announcement earlier this year of a new 600-bed jail to be built in Grafton under a public-private arrangement," he said.
"This will create a further 200-plus full-time jobs in the Clarence Valley and many more indirect jobs."
Employment from major infrastructure projects like the Pacific Hwy upgrade would be temporary, he added.
"We know the jobs may be short-term, which is why the new 600-bed jail is so welcome," Mr Gulaptis said.
"It will provide regional jobs well into the future.
"Our jails are full and I certainly make no apology for that.
"The best place for those that continually break the law is jail.
"I welcome them to the old Grafton jail and I will also welcome them to the new Grafton jail when it is built."